Sunday, November 23, 2014

Rich Hill Mining Review Feb. 8 1990 {A fitting farewell to Corey Gordon}

{A fitting farewell to Corey Gordon}-In Tribute

Feb.8 1990
By Randy Bell
  A police car headed west on Rich Hill's Walnut Street with the fire engine not far behind. It was shortly before noon on Friday.
  Foggy, damp, cold, a little drizzle, a miserable day to fight a fire. That thought crossed my mind as I climbed into my car, camera in hand.
  But this day there would be no fire. No smoke to breath, no soot to stain face and clothes, no long lines of hoses to roll back up. Granted many firemen and ex-firemen were close at hand but this time they would not be grabbing for helmets, boots and yellow overcoats, they were dressed in suits and ties.
  This day they had come to honor the passing of longtime Rich Hill Fire Chief Corey Gordon. It was a fitting final salute to this veteran of 38 years of fire fighting that the fire truck led his funeral procession, that fellow firemen were his casket bearers.
  All my life I had watched Corey Gordon leading the Fourth of July parades and bringing Santa Claus to town in the fire truck. But it wasn't until I came back to work at the Review that I really became acquainted with Corey.
  As memory serves, Corey was at one of the first city council meetings I attended as a reporter back in 1972. By then Corey had already served 30 years on the volunteer fire department. He was asking, that night, that the council start putting aside some funds for the purchase of a new fire truck. After the meeting he mentioned to me that a new fire truck wasn't a necessity right then, but that sooner or later it would be and the cost would be higher.
  Over the next eight years our paths, Corey's and mine, would often cross. As smoke billowed from some upstairs window Corey would direct his firemen and I'd snap pictures. Later we'd get together and he'd give me details for the story.
  But there was much more to the story than the story. The fires made headlines, but the untold hours made the fire department. Hours of training, of taking care of equipment, paperwork, inspections, of fire prevention efforts — those hours were seldom glorious or exciting and seldom made the news. But your home, your very life was a little safer for each of them.
  Next to his family, fire protection for our town was the most important factor in Corey's life. In fact that devotion often took Corey away from his family, sometimes in the dead of night, sometimes in the heat, sometimes in the cold, sometimes during a holiday dinner. Fires are never convenient.
  But year after year Corey was there. When it came to durable devotion he set an example for the rest of us.
  And Corey, if you happen to be listening, that new fire truck will be arriving in town in the next couple of weeks. When I snap a picture of it, I'll be thinking of you.

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