This is a photo from Danny Martin's memorial service at North Bend High School, on May 7, 2005.
Danny's grandsons Bryson, right, and Zachary, sit in the cab of a North Bay Rural Fire Dept. Engine 1. Danny's turnouts were attached to the front bumper. All of Danny's grandchildren rode up front in the cab during the procession from the high school to the fire hall in Glasgow. (Click on the headline to view all the photos)
I attended the service with my camera as Rick and Scott asked me to. I was glad they did because it gave me comfort to know I could be helpful in a small way. Though, I've shot dozens of funerals and services in my career this was a little different. It took place in the high school my mother, father, sister, and I graduated. Where Danny would come to watch Rick wrestle and Scott play football.
My cousin Steve is now the fire chief at North Bay and spoke during the service. His father and my uncle Mike, died in a crash on his way to a structure fire as a firefighter for North Bay. Danny was the Chief at that time. I knew many people in the crowd and even more knew me because of my mom. I recognized people I hadn't seen in decades. I had a sense of belonging in that building that I rarely feel anywhere. It was a strange sensation.
Like everyone I was moved to tears by the stories that were told. Every story I heard reminded me of ten more. I wanted to speak, but I was incapable.
The stories I heard reinforced what I already knew. Danny was an incredible and very unique individual. I listened to testimony telling of how guys would do anything for Danny as Chief. How they sought his respect...how he always made them feel special.
I think that's true about him, and the older I get the more I realize how rare a quality that is in a person. I can think of only a couple names that I could say that about of all the people I've met in my life. Danny was certainly one of them.
My heart aches not only for Gayle, Rick and Scott, but also for Danny's grandchildren. He was even a better Papa than he was a Dad. I lost my grandfather at age 33 and it still hurts. I deeply miss him and I know they will deeply miss him for the rest of their lives.