A Hero Sleeps

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This morning started off as planned. My son and I woke up, got ready for the day, and departed to see our 9:00 a.m. showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. While en route, I received word that a person of great significance in my life passed away last night, my Uncle Bob.1

The emotions took over and I found myself looking through a very blurry pool of tears as I continued to drive on. I tried my best to ensure my son did not see this as I did not want to have this take away from his special morning event, especially after to saying goodbye to Stewie the day before. Though, this was not the only reason.

The first time I viewed Star Wars as a child was in the living room of my Uncle's house in Deering, NH.2 I will never forget this, as I watched them in reverse order and was filled with questions as a child tends to be. I could not have been any older than 7 or 8 at the time. I will never forget him hearing that I had not seen Star Wars yet, to which he replied:

"Whaddya mean you haven't seen Star Wars?! -- You gotta watch them all before you go."

My Uncle carries a special place in my heart. There are so many reasons why this is, but a few that stand out to me now revolve around his involvement with family. There are two key memories I have where my Uncle was the glue that held someone together, or multiple people together.

The first involves a period of time when I left my home for personal reasons, and he invited me in to stay with him. He knew I needed help, but gave me much more than that. He taught me generosity, compassion, and how to live the phrase: Officers eat last. I need not go into specifics, though trust that his legacy permeates through his actions and teachings to all those he worked with, laughed with, lived with, and loved.

The second memory of significance is my Grandmother's funeral. She passed the week of Thanksgiving in 2003. This was a tough time for the family as it is, however added to the stress there was a dispute amongst a few family members. This did not stop my Uncle from leading the proudest eulogy he could lead. His calm demeanor and warm heart showed best as he held my daughter, (not even two years old) while attempting to continue the service. The feuding could have made a bad time worse for all of us, though you wouldn't know it was happening at all while he shared memories, proud moments, and even a laugh or two; all while my oldest daughter played innocently as we shared our grief together, as a family. His tough skin showed on this day.

Tolling the bell and Amazing Grace

Nashue Fire Rescue Chief Buxton (retired) tolls the bell, ringing 5-5-5 followed by Amazing Grace performed by Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire Pipes and Drums. Video courtesy of Bob Pragoff copyright 2010

Posted by Follow the Fallen on Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nashua Fire Rescue Chief Buxton (retired) tolls the bell, ringing 5-5-5 followed by Amazing Grace performed by Professional Firefighters of New Hampshire Pipes and Drums. Video courtesy of Bob Pragoff copyright 2010

Uncle Bob, it is an honor to be your nephew. Thank you so much for all that you have done for me, as well as all that you have given to the world. I will miss you, but I will Never Forget!

Heartbroken,

--Matt

  1. Bob Pragoff was passionate about photography, his family, and helping others. He worked tirelessly to support the training and development of those who aspired to also help others. He presided as Captain for New Hampshire Fire Academy & Emergency Medical Services. His previous work includes a great deal of thankless jobs that only a pure-hearted soul could endure.

  1. I would visit my family in New Hampshire nearly every Summer growing up. My Uncle's house was literally next door to my Grandparents' house. This made visiting quite easy! There was also much more fun to be had here as a child, as my cousins were still living there and are not much older than I am.