By the way, this is a picture of my cousin Rik with Roy from Emergency, a very rare and valuable shot! Everybody sees Johnny Gage, but Roy? According to my cousin who lives close to him, Kevin Tighe is a great guy living his life and enjoying every minute. So, in case you were wondering, the shorter of the two is not me!
…For now, EMS is my life. It is more suited to my personality anyway. Thinking back to my childhood and the dreams I had, it was the obvious choice. The popular television show Emergency was my favorite show back in the seventies. Johnny Gage and Roy Desoto were my first role models. As early as I can remember, I wanted to do this kind of work. When we played war games as kids I always wanted to be the medic. My vision of wartime heroism never involved killing the enemy, rather I dreamed of running through the rice paddies in Cambodia, bullets whizzing past my head, close enough to smell gunpowder, mortar rounds exploding all around me with dead guys everywhere. Disregarding my own safety I would go to the aid of my fallen comrades, taking bullets along the way, spitting out shrapnel and pushing morphine into the wounded soldiers. Once I killed their pain, I would carry the fallen on my back, using the fireman’s carry, back to the jungle and the safety of my unit. “Thanks Doc,” was all that I needed to hear.
“Rescue 3 on the scene.” I said into the mike…
Paladin Press, 2007
Two kids from different ends of Warwick, RI used to watch TV shows when they had time, me, I was drawn to Emergency and the like, sirens, disasters, IV's, and rescues, the other guy, my cousin Rik did the science fiction thing, space travel, time warps, odd creatures and Star Trek. I liked the sci-fi stuff, and Rik liked the rescue stuff, but our ultimate preference were pre-determined.
Funny how life works, here I am, half a century in with Rik close behind, and those lazy Saturday afternoons spent in the basement with an old black and white, most likely with our respective brothers; mine Bobby and his Mike, are long gone. But they are never far away. Our adult lives have been shadowed by those early dreams and fantasies, and somehow, some way we managed to hold on to our childhood into adulthood, and have lived and prospered never having to let go of that that makes us who we are.
Two men now live on different ends of the country, me in Rhode Island, Rik in Washington State. I am just about to cross the finish line on a very satisfying twenty-three years with the Providence Fire Department, half of those years spent writing about my experiences with lights, sirens and rescues, and Rik creates art that is world renowned, beautiful and timeless.
Now, we share most our time with our respective wives, mine Cheryl and his Shelley, and they understand us, and know that even when we are with them, a part of us will never leave the basements of our youth, and our brothers, no matter how far we go.