Back in June of 1992 when I first joined the volunteer fire department, I met a slighly older gentleman by the name of Michael Francis Krakosky or as I quickly found out his nick name "Slick".
Not sure why but he seemed to take an interest in me and was my first aid instructor, which at the time was enough to ride the ambulance. After the first aid course, I was off to take the basic courses in fire fighting which following one incident at the training academy I almost quit. If it wasn't for Mike, I probably would have.
But somehow I managed to get through it all and ended up with Mike as my partner in EMT. I really didn't want to take EMT but the county changed the rules and thus if you wanted to ride the fire engine, you had to take EMT.
The written tests weren't a problem though we did challange each other with numerous questions to see who knew their stuff. We did alot of practice using Mike's kids and wife as our patients. Even with all our practice we failed the practical because the evaluator would not allow us to talk to each other. Mike talked to our instructor and managed to get us retested with a different evaluator. I can remember one distinct comment that I made and that involved the hair traction splint which was slightly different then the one we practiced with. My comment was "This is going to be interesting." Mike asked if I was ok, and I told him the issue but together we overcame the differences in the splint. The next day we were both on the ambulance with Mike driving and me as the EMT, yes I was nervous but Mike managed to keep me calm.
Seventeen years later, I transferred to another station. I think that was a suprise to Mike and in some way a disappointment. I left the other station due to politics within the department and I think he was upset with me.
Fast forward to New Years Day 2010, when I was told by a friend that Mike was in the hospital. I hoped he would be alright and maybe get the opportunity to talk to him once again but I never got that chance. The next day I was told that Mike had passed.
I attended his funeral and it was difficult for me not to get a bit teary eyed. I will miss his usual comment when we got a call, "What we go and where are we going."
Rest in peace Slick, you will be sorely missed.