Baumhower: Saving ToledoWritten by Jeremy Baumhower | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Today my heart is hurting for Stephen Machcinski’s and Jamie Dickman’s families.
So much pain was caused a year ago. Heaven stole two heroes from us, with few realizing what was given in exchange. Two lives lost, one city found.
Both men were destined to become firefighters. They were born with a sense of courage that most of us could never envision. While most people run away from burning buildings, they dreamed of running into them.
Steve and Jamie were family men. They were exactly who we model our sons to be. Faith, family, duty, friends: the four values these two men held closest to their hearts.
One was quiet, loyal, dedicated. A kid from the neighborhood, an uncle, a brother, a son. The other was loud, funny, ambitious, musical. A husband, a father, a mama’s boy. We can all picture each one of these men in our lives. We all know a Steve and Jamie; some of us knew Steve and Jamie.
The toughest part of their loss is the silence: not receiving text messages, the absence of conversation about the Tigers, the no-shows at birthday parties, barbecues and Christmas. The fear of someone hiding in your locker for a practical joke is no more. There is one more seat open at OB’s on St. Patrick’s Day. It’s the slightest nuances that haunt us the most.
Paige and Grant lost their dad. Grace and Brandon lost their uncle. A million tears have fallen in their memory.
Over the past 364 days, we have changed. We are different. We, as a city, are no longer victims of empathy, but believers and reborn Toledoans. We had taken enough; we’d been punched one too many times. We had been down for the count, maybe since M*A*S*H said goodbye.
Steve and Jamie’s passing woke a sleeping giant. It slapped us in our collective faces. It made us take inventory of our lives, inspired us to do better and stand up for each other.
Two men gave their lives out of love for our city. Their deaths were not in vain. Their final breaths somehow became our first.
Their sacrifice wasn’t for a human life, but rather to save the life of the city they chose to serve and protect. Steve and Jamie miraculously passed their courage onto an entire community, made us stand up in our darkest moment and wipe the crud from our eyes.
What an amazing final act of duty.
Rest in Peace Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman.