Mike was my neighbor growing up. He was one of those guys who made you feel like a close friend after spending just a few minutes with him. Before his second career in firefighting, he was a videographer for KSTP Channel 5. In high school, I shadowed him at work for a day. I watched him film and edit. I loved it. At the end of our session, Mike shared my student short film with some of the other video guys there and they gave me notes all while being super encouraging. The day was incredibly memorable and added gasoline to the fire of a budding video creative.

When Mike passed away from cancer this summer, it only felt right to use my livestream video skills to help connect his friends and family to a funeral that’d be hard for many to attend. The funeral was in the middle of a park, so we streamed off of a hot spot. The wind made most of the audio really hard to hear, but still a hundred people were able to connect to be part of an event that they wanted to be at, but covid prevented them. It felt right.

At the funeral I learned, there is staggering amount of cancer among firefighters. Despite having some of the best protective equipment in the world, they end up being exposed to so many carcinogens. The people who fight for us in some of the most challenging moments of our lives, do so at both immediate and long-term risks If this isn’t biggest tragedies of the fallen world, I don’t know what is.