First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

“Gentleness and Strength” (video added)

Tom O'Connor, IAFF Local 798 President, provides a memorable eulogy.

The remarks made by Lieutenant O'Connor at the funeral were moving.

photo by Jamie Thompson

The San Francisco Chronicle provides a summary:

Through the tears, there were moments of levity.

Tom O'Connor, president of the local firefighters union, brought knowing smiles and chuckles as he described Valerio as "a pony-tailed hippy who called himself 'The People's Paramedic.' He had a big heart and unbounded capacity to help the downtrodden.

"He was like Mother Teresa with a siren," O'Connor said.

Perez, O'Connor recalled, was "a fireman's fireman," who once ran an entire city block during a fire on Lexington Street to get a line to a water source when three of his colleagues were inside a building as the water was running out.

"He laughed about it and shrugged it off, never being one to take credit," O'Connor said. "But he should have taken credit that night, because he saved the lives of all three men who were on his engine company."

Perez was a laconic former Marine, Valerio a talkative, world-traveling free spirit.

"To say that Vince and Tony were very different people would be an understatement," O'Connor said. "I think the immortal words of St. Francis sum them up the best:

'Nothing is so strong as gentleness, and nothing is so gentle as real strength.'

Vincent and Tony were our gentleness and our strength."

John Coté, Justin Berton, Chronicle Staff Writers (2011 June 11) Thousands say goodbye to fallen S.F. firefighters

if someone can provide a video link or complete transcript of the remarks, it would be appreciated.

Ahh, should have known.  Dave Statter has the link :)

Mike "FossilMedic" Ward

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