My Friend Gene

There’s some things that take you by surprise. You look left, and then something submarines you from the right. One wishes it didn’t take sadness of that magnitude to make a person stop and think. Look back and stop looking forward. Thinking about good times that were even better than you thought, and sometimes wish hadn’t stopped. And then you realize the impact people make in your live even if they’re only in it for a small fraction of time.

My friend Gene is a bonafide, certifiable hero. In many ways, he’s a hero to heroes. As Corpsman in the USMC, he braves the same danger as the front-line forces of the US military. He goes in first, among the bravest, to make sure those fearless Marines feel safe and receive the best comfort and care they can get in the midst of a blood-filled battlefield. He’s been decorated multiple times for his valor in combat. He could relay stories about being under fire in the same even, steady tone he would tell you a silly story about a Marine’s jar-headed hijinks.He has a sense of inner-calm, that I can only imagine has brought so many soldiers a feeling of safety and shelter during the most harrowing moments of their lives.

When not actively serving, Gene is a proud EMT on the Medicwest team in the Las Vegas Valley. He’s a cosumate healer of others, giving his time, effort, and expertise to save lives and bring comfort to others.

I don’t know him from the military. I don’t know him from inside an Ambulance. I know Gene as one of the best RPG GM’s, and party members in an RPG group, I’ve ever known. For about three years, every Friday night, Gene was a regular for game night. He’s a sharp, intelligent GM who ran one of the coolest, most spine-chilling Cthulu games I’ve been a part of. That same quiet determination translates into a challenging but enjoyable gaming experience. He was also a supportive party member when not manning the books, and taught a newbie like me a lot of the RPG basics.

In short, Gene is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known, from his military career, his job, and his absolute devotion to nerdiness.

A few weeks ago, Gene had a serious medical issue while exercising. No one was there to witness what happened, but thankfully he was working out with several of his EMT friends from MedicWest. They found him on the ground, not responsive, and immediately took him to the hospital. It could’ve been a stroke, heart attack, A calcium deposit rupturing a heart-valve, known as a “Widow-Maker”. It’s also very possible he struck his head on some gym equipment after suffering the incident. After three brain activity scans, all returning inconclusive, no one is sure what happened or what’s going to happen. He’s off life-support, but still kicking. It’ll take more than that to take down a Marine Corpsman.

You can read his story here. It’s a crowd rise site, which enables you to donate to his recovery, but that’s not why I’m posting it. And no, its not a scam. Gene is real and in real trouble. Take some time to read the comments from his Marine Corps friends, his EMT peers, and his nerdy friends (like me). It made me think about how Gene had been such a seemingly small part in my life but made a big impression. Do you know anyone like that? Will it take something like this to make you realize it?

Even if you don’t know him, please keep Gene in your thoughts and prayers. Take it from me, he’s one of the good ones.

A bit sadder than normal, signing off.