The last week has been one of the most trying time in my life. My best friend in the whole world ( besides my wife ) passed away after he went into cardiac arrest while working out in a gym. We've been friends for over 15 yrs, I started as a snot nosied punk to a Lieutenant at a progressive dept, with his guidance and knowledge.

In 1992 when I met Louis, I knew that he was different but as we worked together and played together I found that we had more incommon that I thought. The "Group" of FF's that started with me had Louis as a mentor, He tried to take the country boy out and put the city in and in somes ways he did. The group went to NY a few times ( Pre-911), and Baltimore was an annual trip, the things that happen Baltimore stay in Baltimore( Right !!!!). And one day he said "I've got a great idea, lets be Paramedics" and I said sure why not. Well 7 yrs later we've been working togather @ Parkwood, been medics for 6yrs now I ask What was he thinking? In my mind it was just his way of furthering my career. As the Group drifted away Louis was trying to pull us back togather along with his life. But we know how we get schedules, OT shifts, Kids activities, and we forget where we come from and who helped us along the way. I asked Louis to be the Godfather of both my children and without hesitation he said Yes (both times) His parents were my second family. My father passed away in January this year and he was there every single day at my bekind call. The stories I could tell but I want, needless to say we were tight. Almost every phone call or interaction I said "Love you mean it" and he was weary about saying it in public. Monday morning came around he was getting ready to leave work we switched our equipment ( My wifes and Louis's BDay are 2 days apart and we always celebrate them together every year ) and talked about the night before, I asked about the bd planning and he said "we'll do it later after I check my schedule" Famous last words, but as he walked out the door he turned around and said Steve "Love you mean it" and left the station. At 15:00 hrs on Monday I recieved the news of his cardiac event, for 6 days he struggled and on the 7th his work here was done. He went to be with family and friends that have gone before him. Louis there is a huge hole in my heart that needs to be filled, even though you are not here physically please be with the ones that love you and guide us as you have in the past.

I said all that to say Please, Please, Please Dont hesitate or wait to check your schedule, I have personally been given 2 messages this year, I should have learned from the first one. Hug your kids everyday before leaving for work, Kiss your wife/girlfriend (one or the other not both) before bed, go fishing with your dad, because there may not be another chance. Please pray for us, this has hit hard and every good comment travels miles.

"Love you mean it"
Lt. Stephen Russell
Parkwood Fire/EMS

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Comment by Gordon "Gopher" Runer on December 17, 2008 at 5:13pm
No words can even begin to help fill that hole that is left behind whenever you lose someone so close. The best way to honor his memory is to become that best friend to another. Give someone else the gift that he gave to you. Celebrate the life that he shared with you and cherish the memories. I will keep you and your whole family in my thoughts and prayers.

Sincerest condolences,

Comment by Art "ChiefReason" Goodrich on December 17, 2008 at 9:33am
Live the rest of your life in his memory and in honor of him.
Celebrate it and build upon what he has given you.
Then, share it with others.
Comment by Jenny Holderby on December 17, 2008 at 2:35am
There is nothing I can say to make you feel any better. I won't try. But I do know from experience what you are going through right now. You may not believe it right this minute but it gets better, no not really better, maybe just easier with time. Eventually, that gaping hole in your chest will start to heal. You have memories, cherrish them always.

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