This is where I first met "Scotty", in the mid 1960's. Yeah, that's more than 40 years ago, but I still have many wonderful memories of this great guy that will last me a lifetime. I met Scotty when he came on "The Squad", which was stationed at old RFD Headquarter's (Station Number 2). The old apparatus bay is now part of the City 911 Dispatch Center. Scotty was always very nice to me; genuinely interested in my life and things I was doing and learning. I was still in high school at the time. Later, I went off to college, but whenever I came back and visited the fire station, Scotty was always quick to "catch up". We both shared an interest in photography, film and video.
Scotty spent a lot of time on this truck; sometimes I was fortunate enough to ride along!
Following are excerpts from Rockford Register Star Staff writer Sean F. Driscoll:
To his fellow firefighters, "Scotty" was a mentor, a dedicated worker, a true man of honor.
"It's different for everyone who came here today," Father William Wentink, chaplain for the Rockford Fire Department, said Friday. No matter what brought hundreds of mourners to Trinity Lutheran Church, they all shared a common thread: They missed him.
"Scotty" was a 30-year veteran of the Rockford Fire Department; after retirement, he served as deputy chief with the New Milford Fire Department. His dedication to fire fighting and his fellow firefighters was a common theme Friday. "When we take a look at what firefighters do, they truly are doing God?s work to take care of those who are sick and who are dying," Wentink said.
Tina Haynes, a New Milford emergency medical technician, said Scott sometimes made cracks about women firefighters while she was being trained by him. It was all in jest, she said...a fact Scott proved when he cast his vote in February.
"Guess who he voted for in the primary?" she said. "Let me give you a hint...it wasn't any of the male candidates."
One of his grandchildren, Sara Scott, remembered a birthday party when she asked her grandfather to dance. He declined, saying he was too old. Sara Scott said she joked with her grandfather that if he didn't dance then, he'd have to dance at her wedding. He said he'd be honored.
"That's something that I've looked forward to since that night, and I'm sad won't happen," she said. "But my heart is at peace because my grandpa's at peace. Even though part of me will always be sad he's not here, I'm overjoyed that one day we'll see each other again. And Grandpa, when I come home, please save a dance for me."
Sara's father, Michael, remembered his own son's death in a car accident eight years ago.
Michael echoed the simple words his dad shared with him that day.
"This is the hardest day of our lives," he said. "There's nothing I can say or do to help you through this, but I will be there for you."