Thoughts as Father’s Day 2017 comes to a close:
Earlier this week we returned from Anderson, Indiana, where my father in law Mike Riggs was laid to rest.
His obituary is here. Those who worked with him said he was always “first in, last out” on every call: a role model and a mentor that took great pride in his work, and considered heroic acts just “doing my job”.
Mike spent 34 years working as a firefighter for the city of Anderson before moving to Texas to retire. The firefighters stood watch over him during the visitation, flew flags at all the fire stations at half mast, and those working at the station where he spent most of his career had other tributes to him as well. His casket was carried from the funeral home to the cemetery in “Ole Babe”, a 1953 fire engine. Mike is one of five members of Penny’s extended family have worked for the Anderson Fire Dept over several generations, including one who was on the job when Ole Babe was a working unit.
In addition to Fire Department honors, Mike was honored for his Vietnam-era military service. The Air Force sent an honor guard who conducted a flag ceremony and presented the family with the American flag. American Legion volunteers fired a rifle salute and played Taps.
. After the funeral we had the opportunity to visit a historic neighborhood bar, The Polish Club, which was the place Penny’s grandparents were married, and a place frequented by Mike, other firefighters, and others in the community.
Funerals are never fun or happy, but it was good to see their family and friends, meet and talk about Mike with his brother firefighters, and honor his memory in all the ways we could.
Mike’s favorite charity was the Fire Rescue House, a home for fire victims (the first one was built in Anderson).