Hometown hero? You betcha
I get my best column items from moms. This column was inspired by three great phone calls from one loving mom of a Glen Ellen firefighter. Then the facts of the story were provided our Glen Ellen Fire Chief. He set the story straight, adding all the details. Was that mom right? You betcha.
Her “boy” is a hometown hero for sure. And when it comes right down to it, hometown hero applies to every single one of our Glen Ellen firefighters. But today I’m not going to embarrass all 33 volunteers of the Glen Ellen Fire Station. I’m just going to go after one of these heroes. And a few of his buddies.
Today’s featured firefighter is Jim Kracke. Yep, Jim, your mom loves you and I must say, I’m pretty impressed with you, too.
Your mom told me all about the Survivors’ Reunion that you attended with your fellow firefighters at Benziger Winery, where you were all honored with saving Peter Van Fleet’s life. Yep, it’s true. No hyperbole here.
Two years ago, Peter, our Glen Ellen fire chief, experienced a heart attack that surely would have killed him if it weren’t for his team of volunteers. When Peter’s wife, Kathy, made the emergency call at 11:36 p.m. on the 18th of January, two units came to his aid. Lisa Hardy, Kristin Nightingale, Jennifer Powers, Will Powers and Terrance Pesenti staffed the Glen Ellen rescue truck. Paramedics Jeff Finnerman and Rob Kingsford were on the ambulance.
Two neighbors arrived directly because they immediately recognized the address when they heard in over the alert radio. Those two were Tim Gilmore and Jim Kracke.
The chief readily notes, “A medical aid call rarely requires more than two people and the medic unit.” He goes on to say, “The thought that 12 of our volunteers would come to my aid is a wonderful and humbling thought … words cannot express my gratitude.”
When chief Peter heard I was working on an article about Jim, he was really pleased. In fact he said that my “request for information on this has brought back a lot of what happened.”
Peter says, “Jim Kracke is really a great guy and a leader in our fire department,” ending with, “he’s one of the nicest people you could ever meet.”
Further, the chief tells me that if any of the firefighters get their photo in the local paper, they have to buy ice cream for the whole group. That’s why you’ll often see the Glen Ellen guys covering their face in photos.
I propose a new rule. We know this column isn’t quite like a photo, but no doubt even a little more embarrassing. So I suggest that every time a firefighter’s name is bold-faced in this column that you buy your mom an ice cream … or whatever it is she loves, be it a cup of tea or a belt of moonshine. And while you sit together with that special treat, share a few stories about what makes you proud of her.
So, Jim Kracke, Donna James is waiting for her ice cream. You can tell her that the Glen Ellen columnist thinks she’s pretty special, too. You can also bet that she and I shared much more information than I’ve got space for here and it impressed me quite a lot, too.
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Share your good news with friends and neighbors in Glen Ellen. Call or write me at 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks before.