This evening when I went to Applebees for Carside service, I decided to stop by Wendy's for Jackson and Korinne. When I Pulled in, I saw truck 16 in the parking lot. When I walked in, I saw 4 firefighters in uniform eating dinner. After I paid for my food, I walked over. I said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but you're all from the station across from the apartment complex I live in. I want you all to know our thoughts and prayers are with y'all." I then shared my stories of "Officer Champaign" as the kids here called him. I almost started crying, I was choked up, but I quickly thanked them and moved on before I started bawling like a baby.
I didn't know these men personally. I knew two somewhat from walking the complex with them last summer. But it was mostly small talk and comfortable silence. So why do their deaths seem to hit me so hard? Is it because most of them were from the station we visited often? Is it because I knew two of them? Or is it because I just feel sorrow for the loss our community is experiencing? Am I such an emotional person? (Well that's a yes.)
I've never really felt part of the community here until recently. I don't know why. The kids and I have visited the firestation often but it was more because the kids wanted to. I've taken cookies to them on 9/11 and holidays. When I took cookies Monday, was the hardest for me.
I do pray for all of their families. Our community has suffered so much with this loss. I pray for all of us as well.