What a Wonderful Tribute, God Bless & Protect All Fire Fighters
Corey Iverson was a 32-year-old firefighter, husband to his wife Ashley and father of a young daughter with another on the way, He lost his life battling the Thomas Fire in Ventura County, California last week. He was from San Diego CA. Mr. Iverson's body is in the procession in the video. Jeff Lowe is on the Jeep standing. Jeff Lowe is currently a firefighter at FF1 Cal Fire. Jeff was paying his respects to Mr. Everson when we briefly met. The sadness on his face and his request for prayers deeply touched me. We shared a hug and I realized that I would write this letter to them both in the name of HOPE.
"Dear Mr. Iverson and Mr. Lowe:
It has been a dark 2 weeks here in Ventura California where a toxic cocktail was mixed up and named The Thomas Fire. As I write you both this letter, firefighters are still warring it away near Santa Barbara and Thomas has grown to be the third largest blaze in California history. Relentless flames, wind and dry terrain are terrorizing thousands of people in this formerly sleepy little slice of heaven—hundreds of beautiful homes are gone, just two weeks before Christmas.
Me... I've seen fire. I've been up close to fire. Fire is the most violent evil taker of nature, personal property and human life.I have been a few feet from fire and covered in smoke. I can feel this in my bones.It is more than a miracle that no one perished while sleeping that Monday night in Ventura. It could only be God that slowed the winds down right at Ojai's back door, sparing a little gem town that could have fallen to ashes so quickly. (I grew up in Ojai)
Mr. Iverson- We are thankful beyond words that you chose to be a firefighter and that you spent years training to protect us from this horrible beast called Thomas and others like it. I believe you represent each and every fire fighter and first responder who took to the 101 Freeway and arrived here with that passion in your heart that drove you to be a firefighter back then. You each put your life on the line many times and with out you all this last two weeks, tens of thousands would be homeless this Christmas. Mr. Iverson- you are the one who fights for us, preserving nature and property and life. We thank you and honor you and we said good bye to you today in a fitting send off. (if there is such a thing because now you are on your way to your family who will miss you forever)
We wanted to be at your memorial so we went down to watch you come by in a procession this morning at 10:00 am. The 101 Freeway southbound never looked so beautiful lined with hundreds of fire vehicles and cars paying respect. I prayed for your family and your friends that will not be able to call you or see you again. I prayed for your Brother firefighters who were lining up there to see you go home. They will see more fires.
Behind my car a black Jeep pulled in and a big tall fireman climbed out and got onto the roof of his car where he stood in a tremendously smokey and windy cloud, his arms he held behind his back in honor as he waited for his Brother to pass by. His yellow jacket was lettered in back, 'CAL FIRE'.
The procession passed by. There were helicopters overhead in a perfect line together, representing a line of firefighters standing up to this horrible ugly fire. It was surreal as all the fire vehicles passed by and you just know that being human and being a part of this world can seem so unfair. But we stand tall and we stand proud and we reach out to each other and figure a way to move forward in spite of the ashes. The fireman climbed down from the Jeep and began to approach me. He reached out and introduced himself. He asked me if I could send him the video that I had shot from my phone. I promised him that I would send it to him and he gave me his correspondence information.
Then he said, 'Just Pray for Us OK?'
I said that I indeed had been praying for days for everyone in the path of Thomas. Then, I got a huge hug from Mr. Lowe that put every word I write here, into a physical expression. It was that gesture of reaching out that inspired me to write this short story for Mr. Iverson and Mr. Lowe and every one who is touched by this fire. Hope can be open arms and sharing them with strangers. God Bless."
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