Today was a very emotional day as firefighter, Randy Surratt was laid to rest after a 20 month battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Josh was transferred to Station 19 on the B-Shift where Randy has been the last 10 years. For those of you that aren't familiar...Brotherhood is something that runs deep in the fire department and something that I felt firsthand today at his funeral. Although, Randy has not really been on active duty for sometime...he was given a full active duty burial, this was my first one and it was truly beautiful! He touched a lot of lives and it was evidenced at the number of friends in attendance and in the more than 300-400 "brothers and sisters" in attendance from the Houston Fire Department, Channelview, Eastex, Spring, Splendora and others. The service began as bagpipes played and hundreds of firefighters in their dress blues filed in and paid their respects. The honor guard commanded a salute and seated the group and Chief Hudgens gave a wonderful speech of remembrance. A eulogy was given and hymns were sung, then came the hard part...the slide show. It looked like a picture of my own husband's life...smiles through childhood, football in high school, graduation from the fire academy...the birth of children, happy times, fourth of July, friends, family...the firehouse. I sat there with tears in my eyes thinking, this could be my husband...reminded that we are only given so many days on this earth, thanking God for my health, for Josh's health, Gabriel's health! We went outside to watch the casket as it was loaded on the funeral truck to the sound of the pipes and drums, a beautiful but somber ceremony.
Then we followed more than 15-20 different apparatus to the graveside. It was even more sobering there, as I stood beside dozens of men in uniform...listening to the sound of the bagpipes play "Amazing Grace". Tears rolled down my face...we are not guaranteed tomorrow...we need to live for today, and I was thankful for the service that these men and women provide. Even though Randy died of cancer, we could be standing there for any of these fellows' services and I began to pray for protection over them. The preacher gave a short sermon and the honor guard explained the bell ceremony. Started by Benjamin Franklin, the last call...7 strikes of the bell, it was very emotional. There was also a farewell call on the radio for all to hear.
As witnessed by one of the pastors that was with him before he died, Randy knew the Lord so I am joyful today because I know that I will see him again. As stated by his sister, Randy's hero was Jesus...because Jesus was Randy's hero, he was able to be a hero to others and his death was not in vain. I end this day with a new perspective...make it count! As Ecclesiastes 7:1 says, "A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth." Give Jesus a hug for us Randy, see you when we get there!