Our Brother, Jeff Dunn

As summer’s heat has been in full effect this past week with temperatures soaring into the mid-90’s almost everyday; we awoke to a cloudy, cool morning today. It’s a nice break from the oppressive heat, and a nice way to start a day of remembering. 

Jeff’s story is probably new or unfamiliar to most of you, and this certainly isn’t the place to dive into it full steam. But two years ago today, we had to say goodbye to Jeff as his heroic and courageous battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease came to a peaceful end. We are going to take time today to think of everything that we loved about Jeff, everything that Jeff taught to us, and everything that we still need to learn. Cyrilla and Tanner continue to dig deep and push on, honoring Jeff in everything that they do. If only Jeff could see Tanner on his 5th birthday; what an amazing young man he has become and a great reflection of his father. Cyrilla inspires all of us in how she handles the path that life has presented to her, and reminds us of the love that we all have within. 

I’m not going to lie: today is a very tough day. As I write this, the tears are being suppressed by the keyboard; but smiles will come in a little while. The emotion is deep and still very raw. But the opportunity to be apart of Jeff’s life, and to see what happens when a family of firefighters and community band together to simply ‘do what is needed’; is something that will live with all of us every day. 

Here is a letter that Jeff wrote to the members of the fire department. While it was specifically written to firefighters, there are many lessons in it’s words that everyone needs to listen to.

June 29, 2005

Brothers and Sisters,

I would like to thank every single member of the fire department, and impress upon you how much your support has meant to me and my family. Without this support, the last year would have been incredibly difficult. But with everyone’s help, it has been easier than I ever expected. If you aren’t aware, approximately one year ago was my last shift, and last week I received my final paycheck. The ability to go this long between those events shows the incredible sacrifice made by everyone and I thank you for it. 

Please keep in mind that it’s not the fire trucks, fire gear, or buildings that matter…it’s the people; and when it counted most, the department and the town stood behind me and my family. I wish that everyone could take care of each other the way that you have taken care of me. Treat each other like family: if someone needs help, offer it. If someone needs criticism, be constructive. If someone wrongs you, tell them. If you make a mistake, admit it. If someone needs knowledge that you posses, teach them.  Most issues will take care of themselves if we incorporate this way of thinking.

“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.” -Samuel Johnson (1709 – 1784)

Remember to pick your battles, choose your words, and when you have doubts or conflicts, keep in mind that you have your health; and despite what you are feeling at the moment, you do have the greatest job in the world.

I will see you around and everyone is welcome in my home. I am still the same person, I just talk a lot less.

Jeff Dunn

We miss and love you Jeff. 



  1. Thanks for sharing this letter…brought tears to my eyes and right out of them!


  1. […] have done the walk, of course the last couple of which have been without our motivation: Jeff Dunn (here is the link to a previous post about Jeff). It’s always an inspiring thing to be there with several thousand people with the same hopes […]

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