Today, 87 union firefighters who died in the line of duty will be honored at the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs. One of the names engraved on the Wall of Honor is that of Captain Pamela J. Butler of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Pam lost her battle with job-related multiple myeloma on August 15, 2010.
Pam was a character, plain and simple. Smart. Funny. Wise. Compassionate. A courageous woman who accomplished many things – not that you’d hear it from her. She wasn’t the type to toot her own horn. But she did tend to march to the beat of her own unique drum and bugle corps. And she was never afraid to “tell it like it is.”
Pam was also a writer with a gift for the written word. One of my favorite memories came during an improv writing workshop we attended. When she read her work aloud, the room fell silent in awe of her words. In ten minutes, she had written several paragraphs of beautiful, stunning prose that would take many writers an hour or longer to achieve - if they ever could.
She was my friend, and she tried her best to be my mentor from the day I started with CSFD. Pam once told me, "Take the coaching." It took me a long time before I understood what she was trying to tell me. Now I get it. And Pam, I'm finally taking the coaching.
I don’t think the world was quite ready for Pam Butler. But it is a much better place because she walked in it.
Please take a moment to remember the firefighters who have given their lives so that others might live.