Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Life of Breadth, Not Length

As a parent, when your 19-year-old son comes home one day and informs you that he has decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps, the part of your heart that is bursting with pride is engaged in a knife fight with the part of your heart that is bursting with fear.  

When he returns home five years later, having seen the world, having attained the rank of Sergeant and having earned twelve medals for excellence including the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal and the Navy Achievement Medal, you want to hug him so hard that it takes him the rest of his life to extricate himself from your grasp. 

Of course, you do not.  Sure you hug him hard to welcome him home but you do so knowing that soon enough, he shall be off again. 

Christian Michael Otto Regenhard was born and raised in Co-Op City, the Bronx, to Sally Regenhard and Det. Sgt. Al Regenhard, a thirty-nine-year veteran of the NYPD and, himself, a United States Marine.  A young man with an adventurous streak and a 146 IQ, he could have done anything with his life.  And in the twenty-eight years in which he lived, he damn sure did. 

July 27, 2001 was a day of great significance in the Regenhard family.  For it was on that day that FF Christian Regenhard officially became a "proby" in Ladder Company 131, Red Hook, Brooklyn.  And it was on that day that Det. Sgt. Al Regenhard retired after thirty-nine years spent serving and protecting the people of New York City.  

FF Christian Regenhard was deprived a lengthy career in public service.  On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, he was among the 343 members of the FDNY who was killed at the World Trade Center.  He is gone but who he was - and the promise he carried with him - remains not merely with us but carrying forward.  The Christian Regenhard Center for Emergency Response Studies ("RaCERS") is a Member of the Research Consortium of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, which is my son's Alma mater and judging by nothing other than its stated focus, it certainly appears to be dedicated to the pursuit of doing good.

Something that would make its namesake very proud, no doubt. 

FF Christian Regenhard
Ladder 131 - FDNY



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