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October 27, 2013

Vale
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 05:43 PM * 30 comments

Let me introduce a kid named Jake Weber, from my town. He’s between my elder son’s age and my younger son’s age. When we had town thingies (Old Home Days, stuff like that) he drove the ox team. He’s big as an ox himself.

He was my student when I substitute taught and he was in primary and middle school.

When he was sixteen he joined the fire department, and later became a firefighter/EMT. I worked a lot of scenes with him, some good, some bad, but he was a stalwart. Big Jake. There was this roll over, where the guy was caught by his left foot in the crushed metal where the driver’s door used to be, hanging in the air by his mangled leg. Jake got behind him and did a squat-lift to take the pressure off the wound, and stayed like that, holding the guy up, until the Jaws could strip away the metal and release him. We ran through three oxygen tanks, each one good for 12-15 minutes while Jake just held the guy up.

Later on, Jake moved over to Vermont, and joined the Underhill Jordan Fire Department. (That’s him in the photo, fifth from the left in the back row, looking like the exhaust pipe from the engine is coming out of his hat).

People who’ve met me, when I tell you Big Jake’s big, believe me.

Anyway. A week ago Saturday he told folks he wasn’t feeling well.

I’ve just got back from his funeral. He was thirty.

It is given to no one to know the day or hour.

Live each day as if it were your last; be kind, be good, and hug your kids.

Comments on Vale:
#1 ::: Alex R. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 06:00 PM:

My condolences Jim. It sounds like he didn't live long, but he lived very well.

#2 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 07:25 PM:

Sounds like a good guy. My condolences.

That last is a damn' good piece of advice.

#3 ::: PJ Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 07:36 PM:

I would guess that everyone in that department is going to be missing him for a long time, along with all his other friends.

#4 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 07:53 PM:

There's little I could say. Take care of yourself, too, Jim.

#5 ::: Sumana Harihareswara ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 08:02 PM:

My condolences to all who knew him.

#6 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 08:08 PM:

My condolences.

#7 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 08:13 PM:

My condolences on your loss. May he be remembered well.

#8 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 08:27 PM:

Sounds like someone whose memory will always be a blessing. And that makes it hurt more when you lose them.

Condolences to all who knew him, and for all for the loss to the world.

#9 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 08:27 PM:

Thirty is far too young. My condolences.

#10 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 08:42 PM:

Jim, amen. I'm sorry for your loss, and for the pain of all his friends and family.

#11 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 08:48 PM:

I'm sorry for your loss, and the community's.

#12 ::: Cally Soukup ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 09:01 PM:

I'm very sorry for your loss.

#13 ::: Tony Zbaraschuk ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 09:48 PM:

Sympathy and condolences.

#14 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 10:10 PM:

Such a young life, lost far too soon. My sincere condolences to those who knew him and loved him.

#15 ::: Dave Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 10:56 PM:

My condolences, Jim.

These days, that sort of death for a thirty-year-old is striking and unusual. Do you know the actual cause of death?

#16 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2013, 10:59 PM:

How horrible! My condolences.

#17 ::: BigHank53 ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 12:34 AM:

Hell. I have relatives in Underhill; no doubt some of them knew him.

I'm sorry.

#18 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 07:48 AM:

My condolences.

#19 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 08:40 AM:

Condolences to all who knew him. Sounds like he did a lot of good with his life. 30 is much too young.

#20 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 08:54 AM:

Dave #15

The obituary in the paper said "Medical complications."

#21 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 10:04 AM:

I'm sorry, Jim. What a sad loss to his family and community.

#22 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 03:54 PM:

May flights of angels sing him to his rest. My sympathies to you, Jim, and his family and friends.

Definitely gone too soon.

#23 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 09:40 PM:

My most natural response is unprintable, so suffice it to say: requiescat.

A friend of mine from high school died at age 25 from a heart attack. Neither the day nor the hour, indeed.

If you have the symptoms, go to the ER, don't lie down and hope they go away. Even if you're 25. Especially if you're 25.

#24 ::: Angiportus ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2013, 10:40 PM:

Seconding all expressions of grief and comfort. Also expressing gratitude for the sidebar item explaining confusing words I had heard on the radio on the "Deadliest Catch" program, when there was trouble at sea.

#25 ::: Laura ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2013, 03:18 PM:

Condolences. A good short life is still too short.
And even a life that's full of poor choices is still too short. Hug your kids, indeed, and be kind to all.

#26 ::: SamChevre ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 05:42 AM:

Requiem aeternam dona ei Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

#27 ::: Xopher Halftongue ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 10:08 AM:

May he walk in joy in the Isle of Apples; may he find peace in the Summerland, AIBHOW.

#28 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 09:07 PM:

Young, old, it still hurts when you lose one.
My condolences.

#29 ::: Tam ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2013, 09:51 PM:

I'm sorry, Jim.

#30 ::: Dave* ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2013, 02:52 PM:

That's terrible. May he rest in peace.

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