Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Slap In The Face

I got a call from one of the guys I work with earlier this evening. He called to tell me that another we work with died suddenly today.

It was as though I had run into a wall.

There was no information as to how he died. All I know is that he passed on earlier today. And as I write this I’m only beginning to process the information I was given.

Greg Castillo was a young guy – he was either 24 or 25, I don’t know which. He was an Emergency Medical Technician, one that I’ve known and worked with since 2005. He knew his business, and I thought he was good when he dealt with our patients. He had a quirky sort of personality, and he had his own way of doing things sometimes. But he would give you the shirt off of his back if you needed it.

I liked him. Sometimes his foibles would drive me a little crazy, but I liked him just the same. He was a good man.

We got to be good friends last summer. He had been working as an EMT for a mountain biking park up north, and he had an accident on the job where he injured himself with multiple fractures to one of his legs. The day he got home from the hospital I got a phone call from him. He needed some help. So, I did what anyone else would do: I helped him. Got him situated, picked up prescriptions for him, helped him arrange meals. Basically, I kept an eye on him. It wasn’t just me; a couple of us sort of took turns while he was housebound. And he never forgot that.

He was also an avid supporter of the EMS Ride For Life. He did it last year and said it was an experience he would never forget. I thought it was a great thing to do, and he invited me to go this year. Unfortunately I had to say no on account of my injury status. Plus, I don’t have a bike at the moment.

Up to now, I know nothing further, and as I said, I’m still working on this. It wouldn’t surprise me if it takes some time for me to get through this. And I’ll write about him again.

Rest In Peace, Greg.


Jackie Birrenbach said...

He died of a suicide attempt. He bought a gun sometime around 1pm this afternoon, asked me to call Goffstown PD at 3:01 pm, someone else heard a gunshot and called Goffstown PD at 3:15 pm, and was found deceased in his apartment at 3:20 pm.

Greg was a great man, we all respected and loved him. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.

Walt Trachim said...

Damn!... Why?

I'm sure I'm looking for an answer to an unknown question by asking, but there had to be a reason why he felt he had no options.

That makes me really sad.

Elizabeth said...

I am so sorry . What tragic news.

I will keep you, your colleagues and Greg's family in my prayers.

May Greg rest in peace

courtesyshock said...

May God have mercy on his soul.

You all are in our prayers.

TOTWTYTR said...

I received an email about this early this morning. I didn't know Greg, but the loss still saddens me.

I've had a few co workers or friends who have chosen to kill themselves over the years. It's always beyond anyone's comprehension why they do it, sometimes I think that even they don't know why they did it.

None of which makes the loss easier to accept.

Ellie said...

TP? I'm freaking shocked.

Nick Stabile said...

Walt, i found out while i was at work. I just read what JB gave as a chronology of what happened and almost got sick. this is terrible, you need me you call or get me on facebook. greg was a great guy and his passing is going to leave one hell of a void in NH EMS as well as EMS memorial programs. Sempor Memorium, TP.


Medic7 said...

I just read about Greg's passing and I'm saddened. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all who knew him.

No Person is Ever Truly Alone
by Richard Fife

No person is ever truly alone.
Those who live no more,
Whom we loved,
Echo still within our thoughts,
Our words, our hearts.
And what they did
And who they were
Becomes a part of all that we are,

doreen dworzanski said...

Thand you so much for the kind words on the passing of my son, Greg. They are greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I am Greg's father, Rick, and I also want to thank all who have honored him.

Last night a Memorial Service was held in Manchester, New Hampshire, attended by his mother Doreen, his brothers Ryan, Daniel and Kyle, his uncle, Mike, many friends of his family and hundreds of his EMS family members. A lone bagpiper played Amazing Grace in the parking lot next to one of the ambulances that Greg drove.

At the service I read a poem that I wrote in memory of my son. It is dedicated to those who dedicate their lives to helping their less fortunate sisters and brothers:

Now, now there are two
warm brown eyes
Looking down lovingly at us
from the sky

The turbulent storms
have all been cleared
No more dark clouds
bringing us tears

The sun is shining through
no frowns on our faces
Instead bright smiles
have taken their places

Simple smiles
are what he wants to see
Lovingly exchanged amongst all of us,
his family

We, we shall carry on
with his mission of caring
By the example he left us
of kindness and sharing

Keep standing fast for
all those who are downtrodden,
no matter how hard life seems
And please, please
never give up your dreams

Those stormy dark clouds
will one day reappear
But because he watches over us
there is no reason to fear

Those storm clouds will bring clear waters
but nothing of torment
So let us drink deep
and just live in the moment

Rest in Peace Greg

Walt Trachim said...

Thank you for sharing this, Rick. I was there last night - I was the one on crutches - and the service was very nicely done. Between yourself and the words Brian Gleason shared with us, it was really nice to remember Greg in a positive way.

I can only speak for myself, but he will never be forgotten. If you or your family need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Laurie Pailes-Lindeman said...

I would just like to sat to Greg's family. I thank you for your kind words at the service. All the momentos and pictures were truly a tribute to the man your son had become. He was witty, funny, moody and loved a good argument. though we had our share of them in the months he was stuck with me on desk duty after he had broken his leg. His love for his job and his dedication to the field of ems couldn't compare to the fact that no matter who you were or what you needed he was there to help. Listening to him talk about his ride and his time in NY and Ireland you could see the pride in his face. Though we may never know what was going on in his mind to make him leave all of us. Please know that there were many many times we all witnessed him laughing, joking and telling stories. As a mother of five I would like to know that most of the time I had seen him at work or in general it was with a smile or smirk. Which is why this was all a shock to most of us. I can say and this is from my 15 year old son who came to ride one day at the ambulance company that he remembered Greg as the funny guy who was more than willing to talk to him about EMS. So he made good impressions on a lot of people I guess my wish for all of you is to know that he was loved by many, we are all here for each of you if you need anything please let us know. He was a brother, son, friend to many and we will forever be bonded to all you.