On Friday, June 10, 2011, I attended the funerals of Lt. Vincent Perez and FF/PM Anthony Valerio at St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco.  I had the honor to ride in with friends from two allied agencies.  As is usually the case at events such as this, I was struck by a great many things.

The Brotherhood.  There is a long-standing tradition of good-natured rivalry between Police and Fire.  When tragic times hit either service, those lines aren’t just blurred, they go away.  I’ve been involved in processions for fallen officers in which every freeway overpass is manned by a crew of firefighters and their rigs.  They either stand in front of or on top of the rigs and salute as we pass beneath them.  I assure you it is terribly difficult to ride a motorcycle when you can’t see from the tears.

Public Support.  There were a lot of people in uniform at the service.  There were also a lot of people in civilian attire.  I wish more people understood what a little show of support does for us.  I wish it didn’t take something as tragic and permanent as death to goad folks in that direction.

Camaraderie.  This isn’t the first time I’ve mentioned this particular phenomenon, nor will it be the last.  There is something indescribable about sharing a sorrowful afternoon and then breaking bread with a tight-knit group of like-minded friends.  The meal was good.  The company was better.

There isn’t much more to be said about the lives of Perez and Valerio.  Other people that knew them well have done an excellent job at that.  It has been said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  I’ve written enough.  Here’s a few thousand words:


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3 thoughts on “SFFD – R.I.P.

  1. My daughter and son-in-law were down from Santa Rosa for their 3rd anniversary; we were babysitting the granddaughter. They were at a restaurant along the procession route and emailed us photographs of the MCs, the limos, the fire apparatus making the procession.

    They were very touched, and stood and waved to the firefighters on the rigs from the departments they recognized. They were *amazed* at how many different CA departments sent representatives.

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us MC on such a sad day. To be brought together for such a reason is hard no matter how tight the group. Please know that I may be one of the often too silent majority but there are many people who appreciate the work you guys do. Full praise to all emergency personnel and thank you.
    Please take care and stay safe.

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