Philip (Elijah)

You were painting
The room for your son
A first child yet to be born
Then, the call came…

Danger found you awash in courage
Heat from the blaze
Burning up the cool Winter day
A battle you’d won hundreds of times before

Later that night I recalled
Smoking cheap cigars
In your driveway while
Laughing that you knew my cousins more than I

Oh how easily smiles crossed your face
Friends were many and cherished
Deeply inside your heart, faith flourished
Not on your sleeve, in your actions

Irony was absent in the way you died
A church full of hellfire, yet…
Father reached down and carried you
Home on flames, breaking our hearts, mending Heaven’s

Your son drew breath several days after.
His mother named him “Elijah”.

I’m not sure why, but I thought about my friend Philip Dean this evening. He died February 15, 1999, while battling a church fire in Lake Worth, Texas. It was devastating and unfair, but exactly what he wanted-to serve and protect people and their property. My wife and his had roomed together at Texas A&M. I lost the chance to know Philip as well as I’d liked to have. I wrote this not just for Philip, but for my friends Greg Cutler, Rob Pawley, Steve Pierce, and Arturo Montes all firefighters, emergency medical technicians, or policemen. If you know men and women like these, thank them for their sacrifice and the danger they put themselves in on your behalf everyday.