"The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep."

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Hero Says Goodbye

My brother-in-law Billy was a wonderful husband to my sister Karen, a great father to my nephews Jeremy and Zak, a mentor to countless firefighters and a friend to many. He was the reason I became, and remain involved with Team In Training and on December 23, 2009, he finished his fight with cancer.

Aside from God and his family - especially his grandson Hunter – the most important thing in his life were his brothers and sisters in the fire department. The following poem, read at the beginning of each Roanoke City Recruit School, is the unofficial creed of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department. Billy wrote it during a live fire training exercise in Roanoke several years ago.

If you want to be a clown,
you’d better be lookin’ for a circus.
If you’re lookin’ for a free ride,
here’s a dollar; call a cab.
If you want to be a “Showman”,
Vegas will welcome you with open arms.
If fulfillment of an ego is high on your
priority list, might I suggest Hollywood.
And if you want to be a millionaire,
by all means, this ain’t for you.
But, if you don’t mind hard work, sweating in

freezing weather, getting back less than half of
what you give, and finding your name at the
bottom of your own priority list,
then stick around!
I believe you could be a FIREFIGHTER

Battalion Chief William “Billy” Obenchain


Anne said...

Billy does indeed sound like a true hero who fought right up to the very end. My condolences to everyone in your family.

Fe-lady said...

Thinking of you and your family Tim.
He sounded like a wonderful man and I am sure you will continue to share many memories of him and honor him.

Anonymous said...