Staying strong

One has to think that Fire Capt. Mi­chael Good­win was look­ing down from above on the scene in front of his fam­ily’s home in Park­wood and smil­ing.

 There they were, his wid­ow and grown son and daugh­ter, stand­ing strong to­geth­er, with Amer­ic­an flags in front of them and a phalanx of fire­fight­ers be­hind. Their faces are drawn in grief over the pro­found loss they feel, but they are to­geth­er. A fam­ily.

 Good­win on Sat­urday be­came the 289th Phil­adelphia fire­fight­er to die in the line of duty since the de­part­ment began keep­ing re­cords in 1871. As he stood atop a burn­ing build­ing in Queen Vil­lage, the roof col­lapsed be­neath him. There’s no doubt he died a hero. 

His son, Mike Jr., told the press and neigh­bors gathered out­side the fam­ily’s home on Monday that his fath­er would help any­body he could. “It didn’t mat­ter who you were. He would run in­to that build­ing and pull you out.”

Mike Jr. said what we all know. Fire­fight­ers here and else­where de­serve our re­spect be­cause they run in­to burn­ing build­ings when every­one else is run­ning out. 

His pas­tor, the Rev. Mar­jor­ie Neal, once asked him why he, a vet­er­an fire cap­tain, would put him­self in dan­ger­ous situ­ations. She said Good­win told her, “ ‘I re­fuse to send my men in­to places I wouldn’t go my­self.’ ”

Good­win was in charge of a com­pany of men at the fire scene in Queen Vil­lage. There’s no doubt he died a lead­er.

For some time to come, the Good­win fam­ily will re­ceive a tre­mend­ous amount of sup­port from the cap­tain’s fel­low fire­fight­ers. When something in the house needs to be fixed, they will be there. When the hol­i­days roll around, they will be there.

The Good­win fam­ily has lost its cap­tain, a good man. But from the looks of it, his fam­ily will re­main strong, com­for­ted by the know­ledge that he died do­ing what he loved.  Serving oth­ers. ••

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