Except for Sunday's regular Stop The ACLU cartoon, I'm going to take a hiatus from the cartooning for a week or two and concentrate on producing a few more memorial illustrations like the one (in progress) above of Decherd, Tennessee Officer Michael Keith Buckner.
There isn't a culturally significant 'angle' to my choice of Officer Buckner for an illustration, other than the fact that he died last year on this date. Holidays are an especially difficult time for surviving family members, especially if the loss of the loved one becomes forever 'married' to a day when the rest of the world seems happy. Unlike many other alcohol related March 17 fatalities, Mike Buckner's accident was due only to poor visibility and a snow covered road just on the other side of a bridge. He wasn't wearing his seat belt, probably the result of having a lot on his mind at the end of a day as a narcotics investigator. I've seen a photograph of his department SUV following his single vehicle crash; in his defense, it may not have made a difference.
One of the reasons I enjoy these memorials illustrations is that they are routinely discovered by those closest to the subjects, who in turn contact me with messages of encouragement. For a person who hosts the 'dark night of the soul' this sort of positive feedback is deeply appreciated.
Jeanne Murphy, the sister of Buffalo firefighter Donny Herbert
Donny was the third born in a family of seven children. He was the first boy. The order of the family is Sue, Terri, Donny, Mike, John, Marie and then me, Jeanne. He had wonderful, loving parents, Don and Gerry Herbert.
He was the greatest brother but more importantly an excellent husband and father. He lived for his wife and children. (wife Linda, boys Donald, Thomas, Patrick and Nick) Rarely seen without at least one of his kids. From early in childhood Don wanted to be a fireman. When he passed the test and was officially hired he was the happiest man alive. He always choose to be placed in the busiest section of town and therefore was put with Rescue 1. He did not want to sit around, he wanted to be involved and help anyone and everyone. Both at work and at home. He never said no to anyone. If you had something you needed help with, no matter who you were or what you needed, he was there. Never expected anything in return.
He loved to hunt and fish. He coached his kids teams. Always involved. I know that being his sister, I would be considered biased toward him, but I can honestly say whether I was related to him or not, he was one of the very rare truly good men in this world. He truly was a gift from God. He is terribly missed but his pain and fight is over. He loved the Lord and now he has eternity in happiness and peace as he waits for the rest of us to join in his celebration.
Thank you for your kindness.
In His love, Jeanne.
Firefighter Donald Herbert memorial illustration.