Tonight's entry is among the more difficult to share; yet at the heart of this message is something we feel vital to convey.
With the LAFD News & Information blog recently recording its 1,000,000th direct page view, we had planned to offer a simple thanks to the many who have helped us along the way.
Among the local bloggers who have actively supported our mission, are a handful who have syndicated LAFD information wholesale to help others lead safer, healthier and more productive lives.
Ed Padgett is one such man.
An unsung hero of the Los Angeles Times for the past thirty-five years, Ed labors intensely through the night to make sure that you and I hear a comforting pre-dawn 'thump' at our doorstep. In his off-duty time, Ed routinely shares LAFD postings with his loyal readers, greatly furthering our reach.
That something as sophomoric as our blog might be worthy of Ed's personal endorsement and continued on-line distribution remains humbling indeed.
A day like any other - and then not...
This past Wednesday [August 8, 2007] 1,105 LAFD 'B' Platoon members rose quietly for work in the pre-dawn hours to be greeted by the aroma of fresh coffee and the welcome sound of their newspaper arrival.
For Ed though, there was an unwelcome sound - a knock at his front door.
The Coroner's Investigator was certainly cordial and sympathetic. Yet, his words were any parents worst nightmare.
Bryan Padgett was 24.
As prominent bloggers expressed condolence to Ed and his family, it became apparent that Bryan's death was not only untimely but awkward.
...which remains the genesis for this post.
Ed Padgett has gladly shared our words of fire and life safety with tens of thousands of his blog visitors. Not once did we ask him to do so, nor have we ever had a genuine chance to properly say thanks.
This week, at a time of immense sorrow, Ed expressed but one hope:
"...from the damage in the aftermath, Bryan died an instant death. I snapped many photographs and have a few pictures of what is left of Bryan's Mustang, in hopes some young adults and teens might understand the consequences of street racing."Ed, please consider it done.
In Bryan's memory, we pledge to work together in the coming year with our friends in law enforcement to highlight such dangers, if for no other reason than to prevent the unspeakable heartache that you and your family must now endure. We trust that many of our readers will do the same.
In closing, we would like to thank Engine 32, Squad 32 and Quint 153 of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, as well as the crew from Cole-Schaefer Ambulance for their prompt, professional and highly capable response that night. Though Bryan was sadly beyond their help, they saw that he was treated with the utmost of dignity and respect.
Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department