Friday, May 23, 2008

Again. Words Fail.

A measure of courage I can understand why he says he could not speak these words at the memorial without choking up. I cannot read them without choking up.


  1. Hi Rose,

    The Eureka Reporter printed an unedited version of this a week ago:
    (I thought the edited version is much better, as it does not take a good man's death and turn it into a grotesque endorsement for Johanna.)

    Shane could have (and should have)
    left the last paragraph out.

    " A measure of courage
    By Shane Wilson
    Published: May 16 2008, 11:49 PM
    Category: Opinion

    The Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department and the Rio Dell Fire Protection District offer our deepest condolences to the Rodoni family for the tremendous loss they have suffered. Roger was a true friend to our department and we will miss him. His smiling face and humorous persona while volunteering during our Wildwood Days Bar-B-Que will be a lasting memory for all of us.

    I find this letter very difficult to write, even though many days have passed since that tragic afternoon. I wanted to say these things during Roger’s memorial service, but I knew I would have been too emotional to speak. Putting this into words will be difficult, but here it goes:

    I will start by saying how proud I am of our volunteer firefighters who were at the scene of the accident that day. Four people from our department just happened to be passing by and stopped to assist victims in this fairly large accident. Their actions that day are an inspiration to volunteers and Samaritans everywhere. This was a test of courage that cannot be measured, but can be greatly appreciated by everyone in our community. I am honored to be a member of a fire department with such selfless and professional personnel.

    Roger’s last seconds were the epitome of strength and courage.

    Everyone has heard the main ingredients in this tragic story: Roger was going to a rally in Fortuna; he was talking to his wife Johanna on his cell phone. Johanna and Roger had just passed each other, going in opposite directions, seconds before the accident.

    Here are some of the details that only a few people know about:

    Roger’s Ford F250 came to rest on the bank on its wheels after rolling numerous times. The cab of the pickup was severely crushed and the trauma that Roger sustained was immense. Also, he was trapped in the driver’s side doorway of the vehicle. Amber Bowlds, one of the above-mentioned firefighters, was the first to make contact with Roger. She found that he had a pulse; however, he was not breathing. Feeling helpless, Amber could not initiate CPR due to Roger’s position in the vehicle. She tried to manage his airway by holding his head in a position to breath. Within a few minutes, Amber saw someone standing beside the vehicle whom she recognized immediately. It was Johanna.

    Johanna, sensing something was wrong, had turned her vehicle around and returned to check on her husband. She asked Amber about Roger’s condition. Amber told her that it was not good. Johanna asked if she could go to him and Amber told her that it was her decision, but she should know that he was hurt very badly. Bravely, Johanna went to her husband’s side and held his hand. She spoke to him in private for the last time. Johanna told him that she loved him. His pulse was soon lost. I do not know the words that she chose, but I know that Roger waited to hear them before he let go.

    Roger Rodoni showed the utmost measure of courage. This impact should have caused his death immediately, but somehow Roger knew that his wife would soon return. He was strong enough to hold on for several minutes so they could share one last goodbye. He gave her that final moment with him, truly an inspiring moment for us all.

    Roger was many different things to many different people: friend, colleague, mentor and teacher -- just to name a few. For me, in those final minutes of his life, he also became an inspiration.

    Johanna’s strength and courage mirror that of her late husband. She is the perfect fit for the 2nd District representative. Therefore, Johanna and Roger Rodoni deserve your vote on June 3.

    Shane Wilson is the chief of the Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department."

  2. I wept when I read it.

  3. It cut me to the quick. Johanna has more strength and class than one could imagine. Let's be sure to show her how much we care. Vote Roger Rodoni.

  4. Yeah, choked up is a mild description. It's gut wrenching.

    I didn't see it in the ER, but I will link to it.

  5. I read it in the Beacon. Made me cry, too. One thing is for sure: the Roger and Johanna loved each other very much!


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