Losing a colleague
George Brown was a colleague who played a large role in the growth of firefirefighter/paramedics in northern Virginia. Brown and other paramedics working in the Fairfax City Fire Department developed a pocket of excellence and innovation.
Brown was a joyful and mischievious person, with a shift-work firefighter's dedication to the well-played prank. The last one he played on me was fantastic.
I was the day-to-day EMS operations guy in the county and, with my boss, were at meeting at a hospital. Brown stopped by the hospital and wanted to say hi.
He carefully applied KY jelly to the underside of the driver's door handle. He was neat and thorough, also got the front passenger door handle as well.
Unknown to George, my boss and I were at an unpleasant meeting involving angry and powerful people describing a medical misadventure with serious consequences. Compounded by field command amnesia that left us blind-sided. This was the first time we were made aware of this significant event.
The KY was a tipping point. My boss had a melt-down. Told me to find out which ems units had been at the hospital during our ordeal. Find the vandal!
None of the crews from the three ems units that delivered patients during that time period were suspect.
"Did you clean your fingers?"
Weeks later I stopped by a city fire station to talk to George and he starts the conversation with "Did you clean your fingers?"
It takes three tries before I connect the dots. Big laugh.
Tell him about my boss's melt-down. George's response "Tell him I did it and it was nothing personal."
Review and Sign
The document folder at the next weekly meeting with my boss included a proposed letter from our fire chief to the city fire chief complaining about vandalism of the ems staff car. It was very bureacratic and over the top. Exactly what my boss said he wanted during the meltdown. Left the name blank.
"Who was it?"
"Captain George Brown"
Laughing as he crumples the letter, the chief says "nicely played."
Going to miss you, George.
Mike "FossilMedic" Ward