For personal use and select distribution only © by Addmom

DISCLAIMER: "Emergency!" and its characters © Mark VII Productions, Inc. and Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

The poems and songs used in this story do not belong to me. I have indicated the singer/writer of each one.

No infringement of any copyrights or trademarks is intended or should be inferred. This is a work of fiction, and any similarity to actual persons or events is purely coincidental. This story is only written for entertainment. No financial gain is being realized from it. The story, itself, is the property of the author. Please ask before archiving elsewhere and/or using characters created by the author.

I am in no way connected to the medical profession and take responsibility for all mistakes in dealing with treatments, diseases, etc.


December, 1979


Chief Hank Stanley and his wife, Captain Roy DeSoto and his family, Captain Mike Stoker and his family, Engineer Chet Kelly, Engineer Marco Lopez and Captain John Gage and his family were enjoying the holidays out at the Gage ranch. Talk centered around their new assignments. As they were talking about the adjustments each one was learning to make, everyone had to laugh when Chet admitted he could no longer pull pranks on his favorite “pigeon” because he was now Chet’s boss. But they had another guy on their shift that was just as trusting as Johnny had been when he first started with the A-shift and he was a paramedic to boot. The crews had even had a few opportunities to work together on a couple large fires under Chief Stanley’s command and they still worked together as a well-oiled machine just like headquarters had hoped they would.

The other topic of conversation was the upcoming double wedding of Chet and Marco. They had met two women who fit into the A-shift family from the moment everyone met them. It was a Christmas that none of them would forget because although they were no longer working together as a crew, they were still a very close knit family.

As the cars were pulling out of the driveway the Gages and DeSotos stood on the porch and waved at their departing friends. It had been a good day and one that reinforced the feeling of family for all of them.

“Although it was hard leaving the crew we had, it is great that we all still work together as a team. I don’t think my crew now will ever be as close as we were, but I have a good group of men working for me. It has helped the pain in breaking up LA County’s finest crew.” Johnny led the way back into the house.

“I know what you mean, Junior. It was hard breaking up our crew, but I have a good group of men working for me, too, and our crews work great together. Maybe we can show the county how stations should work together. And our ‘family’ is still as close as ever.” Roy was glad that when the crews had all worked together under the leadership of Chief Hank Stanley, they all fell into place and it was like the crews had worked together from the very beginning.


May, 1980

Johnny laughed as he finished tying his bow-tie. He and Roy had gotten to the church early because they both suspected at least Chet, if not Chet and Marco, was going to be basket cases—and their suspicions were correct. Chet was fidgeting as his brother was trying to help him with his tie—he would not sit still. Marco wasn’t doing much better. He was pacing the floor mumbling to himself in Spanish. When Johnny finished tying his tie, he walked over to Chet and his brother. Seeing the frustration on his face, Johnny sent Chet’s brother and all the other family members in the room out for a breath of fresh air. He was going to try to calm Chet and Marco’s fears.

As Marco turned and headed back towards them, Johnny gently caught his arm in one hand and grabbed Chet with the other. He led them towards the couch in the room and sat them down. Both men looked like they were about to jump up and bolt out of the room. “Marco? Chet? Look at me.” The tone of Johnny’s voice got through to the two men and they looked at his smiling face. “That’s better. Now guys, what are you so nervous about? In ten minutes you are going to be marrying two very special women whom you love very much. You are just embarking on the next phase of your life. And take it from me—it is a very enjoyable phase. Once you get up there and see those two angels coming down the aisle, you’ll forget there is anyone else in the building. Today is a very special day in your lives. You have nothing to be nervous about. Neither one of you wants to spend the rest of your lives without the women you love—you have said so many times over the last two months. Today is the day that you show them and the rest of the world that you love them. Relax and enjoy this day—you will treasure it for the rest of your life.”

Roy stood with his mouth gaping open. He had been married a lot longer than Johnny had, but Johnny had been the one that was able to express what it was like to marry the woman who would complete you. Nicole really had been good for Johnny and Roy couldn’t be happier. It took until Johnny had finished his speech for Roy to find his voice. “He’s right—this is a very special day and you don’t want to ruin it by being so nervous you don’t remember one minute of it. Take it from me—I almost did, but thanks to someone like Johnny, it is one of the happiest memories of my life.”

“Thanks Johnny, Roy. I have wanted to do this for several months and now that the day is here, I realized what I was giving up. But as you were talking Johnny, I realized that what I am giving up is the loneliness and emptiness. This is the best day of my life.” Chet was struck once again with how much Johnny had “grown up” since Nicole had entered his life. He also knew that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Kimberly and there was no reason to doubt that.

Marco, too, had realized that today was what he had waited for—the day he took Rebecca as his wife. All they were doing today was showing the world that she was his for the rest of their lives. He had nothing to worry about. “You’re right, Johnny. Let’s get this show on the road.”

All four men laughed as the tension slipped away from Marco and Chet. When the Lopez and Kelly family members returned, they couldn’t believe the change in the two men. But before they had a chance to ask what had happened, the minister knocked on the door and the men went to take their places at the front of the church.


Since Marco and Chet were having a double wedding, Chet had asked Johnny to be his best man and Marco had asked Roy. Both women had lost their parents so Rebecca asked Hank to give her away and Kimberly asked Mike. Once they had escorted the women down the aisle, they would stand with the other members of Station 51’s A-shift as groomsmen.

The two women had fit into the 51 “family” just as easily as Nicole had when she first met them. Nicole was Kimberly’s matron of honor and Joanne was Rebecca’s. The four women plus Emily Stanley and Beth Stoker were like sisters. The six couples really were a family—a tight knit group who knew that no matter what the future brought, they would be able to face it together.

As Joanne and Nicole each took their turn down the aisle, Roy and Johnny’s attention turned towards their wives. Nicole looked as radiant as Joanne and both men had smiles that would light up Los Angeles.

The smiles that Hank and Mike had were not only for their wives who were bridesmaids but also for the two women they would be escorting down the aisle. Everyone in the church that day saw the love of each man for their wives and the love of the twelve people for each other.


As Marco stood at the front of the church waiting Rebecca, he realized just how right Johnny had been. He knew that this was right and as the ceremony began, he silently thanked Johnny for making him realize what he was gaining.

“Friends and loved ones, we are here in the presence of God, today to share with Marco and Rebecca and Chet and Kimberly as they pledge their lives to each other forever. Today they will begin a life as one—not two parts and will begin to face the future together. Chet, Kimberly, Marco, Rebecca remember it is easy to say the words today but it will be harder to live them day after day for the rest of your lives. Each day you will need to renew the promises you make to each other here today. To do that you much decide that after today when you are legally man and wife you will make that promise anew each moment of every day.

Real love is looking at each moment and walking together in the same direction. It does not mean that you are totally absorbed in each other, but dividing your burdens together making them lighter, sharing the joys making them deeper and stronger as you face life together rather than alone. The vows you make today are the most sacred you can make. You are entering into the holy estate which is the deepest mystery of experience, and which is the very sacrament of divine love. Now as you stand in the presence of God, you must remember the responsibilities of a Christian man and wife.

“Who gives Rebecca to be married to Marco?”

“I do.” Rebecca turned and kissed Captain Stanley. After Hank had presented Rebecca to Marco, he took his place next to Roy at the front of the church.

Rebecca stepped up on the platform and handed her flowers to Joanne.

“Who gives Kimberly to be marred to Chet?”

“I do.” Kimberly turned and kissed Mike. After Mike had presented Kimberly to Chet, he took his place next to Johnny at the front of the church.

Kimberly stepped up on the platform and handed her flower to Nicole.

“Having chosen each other as partners for life, you may now join hands.”

The two couples smiled at each other and joined hands.

“Marco, Chet, God has appointed the man to be the spiritual head, responsible provider and initiator of love in a marriage. With His help, your strength must be the protection Rebecca and Kimberly seeks, your character her pride and your life the haven for which they long.

“Rebecca, Kimberly, God's purpose for you is that you be a loving wife, and tenderly respond to Marco’s and Chet’s love with a deep sense of understanding, through a great faith in Christ who brought you together. God wants you to have the inner beauty of soul that never fades; that eternal youth that is found in holding fast the things that never age.

“Marco and Rebecca, Chet and Kimberly, as you start your life together you need to remember that a Christian marriage is not living merely for each other; it is two uniting and joining hands to serve God; to become one in Him. Face each new day with God’s guidance and love. Praise each other’s strengths; don’t minimize each other’s weaknesses. Look at each other through kind and patient eyes.

“Let God will lead you into each day and lean on Him as you walk together. He will develop your characters, give you enough tears to keep you tender, enough hurts to keep you compassionate, enough of failure to keep your hands clenched tightly in His, and enough success to make you sure you walk with Him.

“Each moment of every day treat each other with the respect and love that says ‘I have chosen you to walk through life with me’. Experience the wonder that you have been chosen by your mate. Then at the end of your pathway through life, may you still be found hand in hand walking together with God. May you ever serve Him happily, faithfully, together until you return to glory or until at last one shall lay the other into His arms.

Remember the love God had given you for each other no matter what lies ahead—especially in the times of frustration, difficulty and fear that will assail your relationship at times. Focus on that love and the strength God will provide and not only on the things that seem wrong. With His strength and your love for each other, you can face the storms and trials in your life together.

“ Marco, please tell Rebecca how you feel.”

“I, Marco Lopez, take thee, Rebecca Canfield, to be my lawfully wedded wife. I will love you, respect you, be honest with you always, comfort you, honor and keep you, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keeping myself only for you so long as we both shall live.”

“Rebecca, please tell Marco how you feel.”

“I, Rebecca Canfield, take thee, Marco Lopez, to be my lawfully wedded husband. I will love you, comfort you, honor and keep you, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keeping myself only for you so long as we both shall live.”

“Chet, please tell Kimberly how you feel.”

“I, Chester Kelly, take thee, Kimberly Moore, to be my lawfully wedded wife. I will love you, respect you, be honest with you always, comfort you, honor and keep you, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others keeping myself only for you so long as we both shall live.”

“Kimberly, please tell Chet how you feel.”

“I, Kimberly Moore, take thee, Chester Kelly, to be my lawfully wedded husband. I will love you, comfort you, honor and keep you, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keeping myself only for you so long as we both shall live.”

“Marco, what token do you give to show your love?”

“A ring.”

“Place the ring on Rebecca’s finger.”

“Rebecca, not only is this ring a symbol of our marriage, it is the emblem of eternity. It is a seal of the vows we have given to one another. The circle of the ring is, as far as human eye can see, a perfect circle--with no beginning or end--so God too has perfect love for us and wants us to love one another in His grace--never, never ending. This ring is made of precious metal. You also are precious in God's sight and now in my love. When we are absent from each other, the presence of the ring reminds us to be faithful to and to fulfill our vows to each other. This ring is my pledge to you of my undying love and unending faithfulness as long as we both shall live.”

“Rebecca, what token do you give to show your love?”

“A ring.”

“Place the ring on Marco’s finger.”

“Marco, this ring is a seal of my vow to you. I present this to you as a token of my submission to you in Jesus Christ. God has placed you as the head of our family. I will depend upon you for strength. The beautiful metal out of which this ring is formed shows how lasting and imperishable the pledge of my love is for you today. It is a symbol of how precious you are to me. This ring is my pledge to you of my undying love and unending faithfulness as long as we both shall live.”

“Chet, what token do you give to show your love?”

“A ring.”

“Place the ring on Kimberly’s finger.”

“Kimberly, not only is this ring a symbol of our marriage, it is the emblem of eternity. It is a seal of the vows we have given to one another. The circle of the ring is, as far as human eye can see, a perfect circle--with no beginning or end--so God too has perfect love for us and wants us to love one another in His grace--never, never ending. This ring is made of precious metal. You also are precious in God's sight and now in my love. When we are absent from each other, the presence of the ring reminds us to be faithful to and to fulfill our vows to each other. This ring is my pledge to you of my undying love and unending faithfulness as long as we both shall live.”

“Kimberly, what token do you give to show your love?”

“A ring.”

“Place the ring on Chet’s finger.”

“Chet, this ring is a seal of my vow to you. I present this to you as a token of my submission to you in Jesus Christ. God has placed you as the head of our family. I will depend upon you for strength. The beautiful metal out of which this ring is formed shows how lasting and imperishable the pledge of my love is for you today. It is a symbol of how precious you are to me. This ring is my pledge to you of my undying love and unending faithfulness as long as we both shall live.”

“On each of the two small tables in front are set up three candles. The two outside candles have been lighted to represent your lives up to this moment. They are two distinct lights, each capable of going their separate ways. To bring the happiness God designed for your homes, there must be the merging of these two lights into one light. This is what the Lord meant when He said, ‘On this account a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.’ From now on, your thoughts shall be for each other, rather than for your individual selves. Your plans shall be mutual, your joys and sorrows shall be shared. As you each take a candle, and together light the center one, and extinguish your own candles, you will be letting the center candle represent the union of your lives into one flesh. As this one light cannot be divided, neither shall your lives be divided, but a united testimony in a Christian home. May the radiance of this one light be a testimony of your unity in the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Marco and Rebecca and Chet and Kimberly made their way to the front to light the unity candles. They lit the center candle and blew out the two side candles and then they made their way back to the minister holding their hands.

“Remember from this day forward you are not to live selfishly as single persons do, protecting their own rights, making their own plans, but rather live for each other. The more each of you loves Jesus Christ, the richer will be your love for one another.

“Rebecca and Kimberly, you are carrying roses today. All of you need to remember that your love is precious just like those roses are precious. You need to keep that precious gift in a special place and water it so it will continue to grow every moment of every day for the rest of your lives. Give that gift the tenderness, gentleness and kindness that it deserves. Make it the highest priority in your life.

“Marco and Rebecca, Chet and Kimberly, in so much as the two of you have agreed to live together in holy matrimony and having heard the pledges of your faith in, and love to each other, and having sealed your solemn marital vows by the joining of your hands and giving and receiving of rings, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of California, in the presence of God, whose grace to you is unmeasured, and these witnesses, I now pronounce you, Marco and Rebecca and Chet and Kimberly, husbands and wives. What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.”

"Marco, Chet, you may kiss your brides," the minister said with a smile.

Marco and Chet each pulled their wives into their arms and kissed them. Both sent up prayers of thanks. And both men silently thanked Johnny once again for making them realize that this was indeed the best day of their lives and would be one they would remember for the rest of their lives.

“And now it is my happy privilege to congratulate and introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Marco Lopez and Mr. and Mrs. Chester Kelly. May Christ be the Head of their homes. May He be the unseen Guest at every meal, the Listener to every conversation. May Christ's love rule their hearts and lives.”

Johnny led the clapping and cheering as the two couples walked back down the aisle though their friends and family. As he looked at Mike, Roy and Hank, he thought back over the years that he had spent with these five men and how they had really become his family. The look of love he received from Nicole and the smile from Joanne, Emily and Beth just confirmed that they were indeed a family and that together they could face anything. And now that family had two new members. A lot had changed over the last few years—and most of it for the better. The original Station 51 A-shift was growing and change. As Johnny looked at Jennifer, Lisa, Chris, Brandon and William, he prayed that as it continued to grow so would the love they all shared and as it changed, it would never split no matter what tested its bonds.


Chet and Marco laughed the loudest when Johnny and Roy played as Emcees for their reception.

Johnny made a toast to Chet and Kimberly and then broke into a litany of all the phantom’s tricks over the years and how he had been the one on the receiving end of most of them. He then went on and made sure he knew how much Chet really cared and that he was important to Johnny, too. He ended his “speech” by saying that his prayers were that Kimberly and Chet enjoyed a long and happy marriage and that their love would continue to grow as his and Nicole’s did every moment of every day.

Roy’s toast for Marco and Rebecca was filled with memories of the days they worked together, too. As he told of rescues, pranks and even the fights the A-shift had, everyone who was not a part of the original crew caught a glimpse of how much the six men really meant to each other and why they had stayed together for so many years. The wives also knew why they had been the lucky ones to have their husbands come home every night—these six men went above and beyond in looking out for each other. Roy’s “speech” ended the same way as Johnny’s. As Roy and Johnny left the platform Chet and Marco met them and were not embarrassed to hug them.

The reception that followed lasted long into the wee hours of the next morning. Now all six of the original Station 51 A-shift crew were happily married and their family had grown even bigger.


October, 1980

Everyone had gathered at the Gage ranch. Jennifer, Christopher, Lisa, William and Brandon slowly approached the group of adults sitting on the deck. Jennifer and Lisa were in the lead. Jennifer’s steps slowed the closer she got to Johnny. “Uncle Johnny?” She was hesitant to ask the question she had been elected to ask. Johnny usually didn’t let anyone ride his horses without an adult with them.

“Yes, Jennifer?” Johnny had a suspicion as to what the five kids wanted. He wasn’t too sure he wanted to let the kids ride the horses. But Brandon was 15, William 13 and Chris was 12 and they had learned from him and knew how to treat the horses and what to do.

“Would it be alright if we rode the horses?”

“Mike? Roy? Is it alright with you? I think Brandon and William are old enough to be in charge if they ride the gentler horses.” Johnny didn’t want to give his permission without the parents agreeing. Receiving nods from both of them he turned back to the kids.

“There are a few rules you need to follow. First, you ride only Cochise, Chief, Princess, Warrior and Paint. Thunder is not ready for anyone but me to ride yet. He still needs a lot of training and runs wild when he is let out into the field. Lightning has been skittish lately and is hard to handle. They both need to stay in the barn. Lisa and Jennifer need to ride Princess and Paint. They are the gentlest and easiest to handle. Brandon, you and William ride Chief and Warrior. They are easy to handle but will be frisky. That leaves Cochise for you, Chris. Don’t race the horses. If you do, they’ll take off and none of you will be able to hold them back. Also, don’t go beyond the tree line in the back field. There are wild animals back there that will spook the horses. And don’t be out for more than a half an hour. Do you need any help saddling the horses?”

All five kids nodded their agreement as Johnny finished giving his rules. Brandon looked at Johnny. “We can saddle horses. You have taught us well and we know what to do and to make sure the cinch is just the right tension.”

“Ok, but holler if you need any help.” Johnny smiled as the kids turned and ran to the barn.

Brandon, William and Chris saddled the horses and led them out of the barn so they could mount them. Brandon was the last one out. He looked at Thunder and Lightning and saw they were pacing in their stalls. He thought about what Johnny had said about leaving them in the barn, but he felt sorry for them. They both looked like they wanted out and he figured it would be alright to let them out for some exercises as long as they were going to stay in the field by the barn. He would keep an eye on them and chase them back to the barn if they got too frisky. So as he led Chief out to join the rest of the kids, he opened the gates to Thunder’s and Lightning’s stalls.

Everything was fine at first. But then Lightning took off running with Thunder close behind. The two horses running by the other five sparked their desire to run and soon all seven horses were running hard. None of the kids had been prepared for their horses to take off. Chris, William and Brandon all pulled hard on the reins which slowed their horses down, but Lisa and Jennifer were so scared, they just put their arms around the necks of their horses. When the horses felt the girls’ arms, they immediately stopped dead in their tracks as they had been trained to do. That caused both girls to go over the heads of their horses. Chris yelled just as Jennifer and Lisa went flying through the air.

Hearing Chris’ shout, Johnny took off running towards the field. He took a detour through the barn grabbing a rope as he went through. As he exited out the side door of the barn, he saw Mike, Roy, Hank, Marco and Chet heading his direction. When he got close enough he whistled bringing Thunder and Lightning towards him. As they got closer, he lassoed Lightning and brought him to a stop. Thunder stopped next to Lightning. As the rest of the men approached, Johnny gave the rope to Hank and asked him to take the horses back into the barn. Roy followed Johnny as he ran towards the horses and kids still out in the field. As they approached Johnny slowed and started to quietly talk to the horses. Seeing Jennifer and Lisa both still on the ground, he knew the horses would be skittish and would not let them near the injured girls.

The three boys were standing beside the girls not knowing what to do. Neither girl had moved since they fell. All three boys were frightened and sending up silent prayers that their sisters would be ok.

Johnny knelt beside Jennifer while Roy knelt beside Lisa. Roy had wanted to see about his daughter, but knew that medical personnel should not treat their own family. Johnny looked Jennifer over and found her only injury was where her head hit on a rock. She was unconscious and that worried Johnny.

Roy was just as worried about Lisa. She had fallen on her back on a very large stone. He was not getting any of the pulses in her feet. As he asked her questions, he didn’t like the answers he was getting. She couldn’t feel her legs and when he asked her to move them, she couldn’t.

Mike and Chet had followed the two paramedics out to the field to see if they could be of any help. When Mike heard Lisa’s answers to Roy’s questions, his heart sank. Chet put his hand on Mike’s shoulder to let him know he was there for support.

Roy looked over at Johnny as Jennifer started to wake up. His heart sank when Jennifer asked why it was so dark and why she couldn’t see Johnny. Johnny said that she was going to be alright and turned so no one could see the tear that slipped down his cheek.

Turning to the men standing beside them, Johnny was glad to see that Hank had joined the group. “Chief, will you take the boys and the horses back to the barn? Mike, will you go get my first aid supplies out of the house? Nicole will show you where it is. Chet, go into the house and call for two squads and an ambulance. Please tell the doctors we need them out here.” All three men hastened to do as Johnny asked. They knew it was serious.

An hour later, the group was gathered in the doctors’ lounge at Rampart. Johnny had been allowed to ride in with Jennifer and stay in the treatment room with her when she got upset when he wasn’t near. Russ, one of Mike’s paramedics, had been able to stay with Lisa. Mike and Roy were pacing the lounge waiting to hear about their daughters. Hank and Chet were lending support to Beth and Joanne. The three boys were huddled in the corner of the room.

Johnny and Russ met just outside the lounge door. Neither man had good news for the group waiting in the lounge. With a brief pause, they slowly opened the door. The group immediately surrounded them.

“Jennifer has her eyes bandaged. Right now she can’t see anything. Dr. Early isn’t sure if it is permanent or not, but he’s not very optimistic.” Johnny reached out and held onto his best friend to lend his support.

“And right now, Lisa has no feeling from her waist down. Dr. Brackett isn’t sure if she will ever regain the feeling or be able to walk again. He said not to get your hopes up.” Russ reached out to lend his support to his Captain.

Russ and Johnny led their friends over to the couch to sit next to their wives. As Roy wrapped his arms around Joanne and Mike wrapped his arms around Beth, Johnny slowly approached the three boys sitting off in the corner. He knelt down in front of them so he could look them in the eyes. “What happened out there?”

All eyes were on the boys when they heard Johnny’s question. No one had stopped to think about what had caused the accident.

All three boys kept their eyes turned to the floor. It was a very quiet, very long minute before Brandon spoke. “Thunder and Lightning took off running spooking the other horses.”

“What were Thunder and Lightning doing out of the barn. Didn’t I tell you that they needed to stay in the barn?” Johnny worked hard to keep control of his anger.

With tears running down his cheeks, Brandon nodded his head. His next words were so quiet Johnny had to lean forward to hear them. “But they were so restless in their stalls. I didn’t think it would hurt to let them have some exercise. The last time you took me riding they just ran along with us and stayed near us. I thought I could keep an eye on them and everything would be fine.”

“Brandon, the last time we rode there were only two of us and they knew I was right there. Today all the horses were out. But what caused them to run in the first place? Something had to cause them to take off like that.”

“I don’t know. They were right near me and then they took off.”

“I know what happened.” Chris looked at William and both boys looked back at the floor.

“What, Chris?”

“William and I were flicking our reins at each other playfully and not hard enough to scare the horses, but I think I accidentally flicked mine in front of Lightning’s face. It scared him and he took off running with Thunder right behind.”

“Yeah, and when I flicked mine, I think I spooked Thunder.” William was feeling as bad as the other two boys.

“Boys, look at me.” Johnny waited until all three boys were looking him in the eye. “What happened today was an accident. Normally playing the way you did would cause no problems. But when Brandon let Thunder and Lightning out, it was just a little too much. Brandon, I know that you had only good intentions when you let them out. They did need some exercise, but I was going to do it later when they could run and not interfere with anyone else. It was because you care about them that you did it. But next time please listen to me when I tell you not to let them out.”

The three boys had felt that Johnny would never let them near his horses again. But he had said “next time” and they knew he wasn’t angry with them. All three threw themselves into his arms at once knocking him over. As they laughed, they knew they had faced one hurdle, but there was another, bigger hurdle to face—their fathers.

Roy and Mike had listened to the boys’ explanation of what had happened out in the field. They had quietly discussed the fact that all three boys would be feeling such guilt because the girls had sustained injuries that were possibly permanent that they didn’t need to punish them any more. The two men made their way over to the group that was untangling itself and rising from the floor.

“Chris, are you alright?” Roy had seen the anguish in his son’s eyes when he had looked up once at Johnny while he was talking.

“Oh, Dad, I’m so sorry.” Chris instinctively buried his head in his father’s shoulder and sobbed.

William and Brandon were each wrapped in the arms of their father with the tears running down their faces. “We are so sorry. Are Jenny and Lisa going to be alright?”

Standing up, Johnny walked to the men and boys. Nicole had joined him. “You know what boys? I know that both girls are going to be just fine and make a complete recovery.”

Before anyone else in the room could say anything, Nicole smiled. “Yes, they will be alright.”

“How can you both be so sure? If the doctors aren’t very optimistic, how can you be?” Chet was incredulous that they would even say what they did.

“I can’t tell you that, Chet. It is just something that we both ‘know’ just like when we know when each other or Roy or Joanne is in trouble.” Johnny couldn’t explain it, but he knew the girls were going to make a 100% recovery.


Two weeks had passed and both girls had been released from the hospital. Although the swelling that both doctors were sure was the cause of their conditions had gone down, their conditions remained the same. Everyone but Johnny and Nicole believed that their injuries were permanent. They were all getting discouraged.

On Saturday, Johnny and Nicole stopped by the DeSotos and the Stokers to pick up the two girls. They wanted to give their parents a break. But Roy and Mike decided to join the Gages as they took the girls back out to the ranch. They both felt they didn’t get to spend enough time with their daughters with their work schedules. Although both men were very discouraged, they were thankful for Johnny and Nicole’s upbeat interactions with the girls. It seemed like the girls were coming out of the shells they had created around themselves for the past two weeks.

It was while Johnny lifted Lisa out of the back of their van that he accidentally hit her leg against the door. With a surprised look on her face, she quietly said ouch. Johnny looked at her and sat her in the wheelchair that she was using. “Lisa, can you feel this?” Johnny took the cap of a pen and ran it down her legs. Both of them were talking quietly as neither one wanted to get their hopes up let alone anyone else’s hopes.

“Yeah, I can. I really can, Uncle Johnny.” There was hope in Lisa’s voice.

“Ok, let’s try something.” Roy and Mike had their backs to Lisa and Johnny as they helped the Gage twins as well out of the car. Johnny carefully stood Lisa up and let go ready to grab her if she needed his help.

With a huge grin on her face, Lisa took a few tentative steps towards Johnny as he backed up with his hands outstretched. Johnny’s grin matched Lisa’s and he winked at Nicole when he noticed her watching them. He didn’t let Lisa take too many steps because he wanted Dr. Brackett to check her out first to be sure everything was ok. But he wanted to encourage Mike so as she turned to walk back to the wheelchair, he called out to Mike. “Mike, Roy, I think there is something you need to see.”

Turning around Mike’s eyes filled with tears as he watched his daughter take the few steps back to the wheelchair. Roy was happy for Mike, but was feeling down because Jenny still could not see. He turned back to help his daughter out of the van.

Just as Roy back out of the van, he heard Jenny’s voice. “Daddy, be careful. You are going to hit your head on the top of the van.”

Roy didn’t think about what Jenny had said. He just turned his attention back to what he was doing. “Thanks, honey.”

Nicole giggled as she realized what had just happened, but Roy didn’t.

“Aunt Nicole, you’ve planted some new flowers, haven’t you?” Jenny smiled at Nicole when she realized that her eyesight was returning. “I thought you were going to wait until I could help. I especially like the pink roses.”

“Well, I still have more to plant. All I planted was the rosebushes so you wouldn’t get stuck with the thorns. The rest I am waiting for your help with.”

“I like the yellow roses, too. Aunt Nicole? Could I take a yellow one and a pink one home to Mommy?”

“Sure you can.”

It was about that time that Roy picked up on the conversation between Nicole and Jenny. Mike had taken over the care of Lisa so Johnny was now standing just behind Roy at the van and was listening. He knew what was happening.

“Jenny, do you want to come with me to pick them?” Johnny was trying to find a way to get Roy to realize what was going on without coming right out and telling him. “That way you can pick out the ones you want.”

“Yeah, let’s go.” As Jenny climbed down from the van and started pulling Johnny towards the rosebushes, Roy realized that Jenny could indeed see. He hastily followed his friend and daughter.

“Jenny?” He was afraid that it was all a dream.

“Yeah, Daddy?” Jenny turned to look at her father with the biggest smile he had ever seen. “Do you want to help pick some roses for Mommy?”

“Yeah, I think I do.” Roy picked up his daughter and swung her around. When he put her down, she pulled his hand and headed back towards her goal with Mike and Lisa right behind.

“Girls, after you select the flowers for your mothers I think we should make a trip to Rampart so the doctors can check you out.” Johnny was happy that both girls would soon be back to normal.

“Yeah, Uncle Johnny’s right.” Mike wanted verification that his daughter was indeed going to be able to walk again.


Mike and Roy were once again pacing the doctor’s lounge. They jumped when the door opened, but realized it was just their wives arriving. They had called them when they arrived at Rampart, but didn’t tell them what they were doing there. Both women had looks of fear on their faces.

“Roy, what is going on? Is Jenny alright?” Joanne was worried that another accident had happened at the Gage ranch.

“Yeah, Mike, is Lisa going to be ok?” Beth was as worried as Joanne and the three boys that had followed them into the room.

Nicole was seated on the couch watching her friends. She smiled as the door to the room opened revealing Johnny following Lisa and Jenny. She started laughing as Roy and Mike slowly turned their wives around to see their daughters entering the room.

Dr. Brackett and Dr. Early followed Johnny. Kel was the first to speak. “Mike, Beth—Lisa is going to be just fine. She will need to do the exercises that I showed her, but she will be 100% in no time.”

“Roy, Joanne—Jenny’s eyesight is 20/20 and she is back to 100%.” Dr. Early’s smile lit up the room.

It was only two seconds before the joyous shouts were heard all the way to the emergency room nurses’ station. Dixie smiled as she heard the sound—she had been in the room when both doctors verified Johnny’s findings.


The party the next weekend was once again at the Gage ranch. This time when the boys asked to ride the horses, they listened carefully to what Johnny told them and followed his instructions to the letter. All three boys were thankful their sisters were going to be ok and that their parents had realized that the guilt from knowing they were the reason the girls were injured was punishment enough. Being allowed to ride the horses again was also a relief—they had all thought they wouldn’t be trusted with them again. It was a hard lesson to learn, but all five children grew up a little during those two weeks.

The holidays at the end of the year were filled with laughter and love as the three crews and “Station 51 A-Shift” family (as it had been dubbed by one of the other Fire Chiefs) gathered often at the Gage Ranch. There was a lot to be thankful for. Not only did they all thank God for their blessings, they each made sure that every other member of the “family” knew how much they meant to them. Although they were no longer working together as one crew, Mike, Roy, Hank, Marco, Chet and Johnny grew closer every day. Johnny remembered the promise they had made each other when their promotions came through and thank the Lord every day that they had remained a family.

February, 1981

All the men of stations 14, 24, and 51 as well as Chief Hank Stanley all decided to do something special for their wives for Valentines Day. They planned a special dinner that they would share responsibility preparing and reserved the conference room at headquarters. The paramedics were responsible for decorating the room while the rest of the crews made sure they had everything else they needed. The florist shop had given them all a good discount on the roses each man ordered since there were 19 of them ordering a dozen roses for their wives. The roses were placed at the appropriate places with each man’s card to his wife. They had gotten some of the other off-duty, single firefighters to serve as waiters.

All the ladies were impressed with their husbands and had presented each one with a special gift. It was Joanne and Nicole, however, who added the little extra special gift. Just as the “waiters” were getting ready to serve the desert, both women leaned over and whispered in their husband’s ears.

Johnny turned to look at Roy seeing his stunned look reflected back at him. Then both men stood up and swung their wives around until they begged them to stop before they got too dizzy. Seeing the questioning looks on the faces staring at them from the table, Johnny broke into a face splitting grin. “Nicole and Joanne are pregnant!”

Everyone congratulated the two couples who now were the center of attention for the rest of the evening.


March 1981

Life had settled into a new routine for each of the original Station 51 A-shift crew. Like Johnny had mentioned to Roy, they all had good crews to work with and that helped—especially now that an arsonist was running around.

It started out with a fire in Station 51’s district. The next time it was Station 14’s district. The third fire was in Station 24’s district. The next six fires varied, but they were in one of the three stations’ districts. The only pattern the fire investigators could find was that it always happened when A-shift was on duty and only in the districts covered by one of the three stations. The next six fires were set so that two of the stations would have to respond together. Sometimes there were as many as three fires during a shift. And the last fire had required all three stations to respond.

The arson investigator was visiting each of the stations to interview the firemen and see if he could determine a motive for these fires. But none of the men could think of anyone who might have a grudge against all three stations.


The call came in for all three stations to respond to a fire in the warehouse district that bordered all three of their response areas. The same reaction was received at all three stations, Roy, Johnny and Mike all looked at their engineers and shared an expectant look with them. The same thought was running through the mind of every member of the crews of the three stations—this fire was set by their arsonist. But there was something different this time, every man felt it. Something was going to happen. Each man prayed that nothing would go wrong and that each of them would be returning to their respective stations when this was all over. Mike, Roy and Johnny each shrugged off the feeling of dread and responded to the call.

Five minutes later, Station 51 was the first to arrive on the scene. Johnny immediately took control of the situation and starting calling out orders. As Station 14 and Station 24 arrived, Roy and Mike checked in with Johnny to see where they were needed. Johnny was never so grateful as he was when Chief Stanley arrived on the scene and he could turn control over to him.

With Hank in charge, Johnny and Roy pulled one of the hoses off of Engine 51 to go help “battle the beast”. Johnny’s paramedics, Bob Carden and Jim Standish, and Roy’s paramedics, Kent Williamson and Andrew Clark were doing a sweep of the two large warehouses that were the center of the fire. Hoses were being manned by Johnny’s firefighters, Peter Swanson and Bill Canady; Roy’s firefighters, Patrick Watson and John Michaels; Mike’s paramedics, Russ Samson and Greg Sanders, and his firefighters, Rich Watkins and Craig McShane. The three engineers—Chet manning Engine 51, Marco manning Engine 14 and Charles Cannon manning Engine 24—kept the water coming so the firefighters had a chance to win the battle.

Roy and Johnny had just entered the building and Mike and Hank were intent on the three engineers to see if they needed anything. At the moment Mike’s and Hank’s attention drifted back to the door they had seen their former crewmates go through. As each took a minute to say a silent prayer for all the personnel in the building, the first shot rang out. It pinged off Engine 51 just above Chet’s head. He ducked, but was determined to stay at his post. However, when the second and third shots hit closer to him, Hank grabbed him and ducked behind the engine. Just as they reached safety, they heard the glass on the control shatter. Hank looked under the engine and saw what he had feared. The hoses running from Engine 51 no longer had any pressure in them.

As the HT in Hank’s pocket sprang to life, shots could be heard pinging off the other two engines. Before anyone else could respond, Hank cued the HT. “All personnel, we have a sniper out here.” Hank looked at the other two engines and knew that Mike and Charles were behind Engine 24 and Marco was behind Engine 14. He also knew that both engines were in the same state as Engine 51. “We know that you have no pressure. The sniper has shot the controls on each of the engines. Will let you know status as soon as possible.”

It was quiet—too quiet. A minute later Hank looked around the engine at the warehouse and noticed that Roy was at one entryway and Johnny was at another. He figured they were going to try to run out and draw the sniper’s fire to see where he was hiding. What he didn’t know was that there were firefighters at all entrances. Before he could get his HT to his mouth to stop them, shots rang out from more than one direction. They rang out from all four directions. The firefighters in the buildings weren’t going to be able to come out anytime soon and the fire was raging bigger by the second.

Hank called for police backup and more fire personnel. However, he knew the fire personnel would not be able to get very close until the police found their snipers. As he, Mike, Marco, Chet and Charles made their way to one spot using the cover of the engines, they were all praying that the police would find the snipers in time for their crews to make it out alive.

Periodically one of the men behind the engine or one of the men inside the building would try to move only to have a bullet hit close to him. It seemed like an eternity, but was really only two minutes before the swat team and policemen arrived on the scene. Hank saw the three replacement engines waiting down the block for the go ahead to fight the fire.

When the police presence was obvious, the shots rang out at almost a continuous volley. Johnny and Roy had devised a plan and had tried to figure out a diversion. The police swat team was giving them what they felt was the perfect opportunity. Roy and Johnny each grabbed two of their men. The plan was that Johnny and Roy would be out in front with the two men single file behind them. They were going to make a break for the engines. It wasn’t a perfect plan or even a good plan for that matter, but they knew they had to do something because the fire was getting closer by the second. During one particularly long exchange of gunfire, they made their attempt. With a sigh of relief, the six men made it to the safety of the cover of Engine 51.

Before Hank realized what was going on, Mike was beside Roy and Johnny. “I’m going back in with you. I’ll help get the men out.”

Johnny and Roy looked at Mike and just nodded without saying a word. Having three instead of two would get their crews out faster. Hank was going to try to stop them, but they were gone before he even got to where they had been sitting.

Whoever the snipers were noticed the activity as the three men ran back into the burning building and a new volley of gunshots hit the ground close to the men as they were running. The swat team also noticed the three men and tried to provide cover for them. Captain Stanley advised the swat team leader of the plan Johnny, Roy and now Mike were trying to complete.

Just as Hank was about to try to contact them on the HT, it came to life in his hand. “Chief, this is HT 51.”

“HT 51, stay where you are.”

“Chief, we need to get out of here now. The fire will engulf this building in about 30 seconds. We can’t wait.”

With a nod from the leader of the swat team, Hank reluctantly pushed the talk button. “Ok, HT 51. Get out of there now.”

The swat team started firing at the four locations the gunfire was coming from and the men in the building started coming out at a run one at a time. Marco and Chet had stood up to help the firefighters coming at them. They stepped out from behind the engine and pulled the men to cover as soon as they were within reach.

Mike, Johnny and Roy had let the members of their crew go first as they knew the swat team was trying to keep the snipers pinned down. Four of the men had reached the safety of the engines and two more were on their way when the gunfire from the snipers got closer to the fleeing firefighters. Without saying word, the agreement was made between the three captains. Mike and Roy took off at a run and got between the two fleeing firefighters and the direction the gunfire was coming from. Johnny grabbed the other two men and sent them out with him bringing up the rear.

As Chet, Marco and Hank watched the drama unfold in front of them; all they could do was hold their breath. As each man got closer, they took turns grabbing and pulling the men to safety behind the engine. The bullets were getting too close for anyone’s comfort and all of them were praying that it would soon be over.

Johnny watched in horror as Roy and Mike ran in front of him. He saw their crew get to safety but he also saw Mike and Roy each take a bullet. He was thankful that they were operating on adrenaline and didn’t stop running until hands pulled them safely behind the engine. He wasn’t fully aware of what was happening around him—he was too concerned about his friends. As Hank’s hands guided him behind the engine he was relieved to see Roy’s and Mike’s paramedics working on their respective captains. It wasn’t until Hank made him sit down and he saw his own paramedics ready to assist him that he realized he, too, had been hit. He didn’t argue as Bob and Jim worked on him. His attention was focused on the activity surrounding Roy and Mike.

All of a sudden it was quiet. It startled the firefighters. Then the shouts came and the ok was given for the three waiting fire companies to come in to finish and clean up. The men watched as the swat team leader approached Hank. “There were four snipers. Two of them were killed and the other two arrested. It seems it was the four sons of a couple who died in a fire you were called out to about three years ago. The couple died in the fire. The police had been called in to stop a fight that had erupted among the crowd. I was one of those policemen. I remember the fire and that the house was totally engulfed when you arrived. I also remember that the fire had been set and one of the boys just admitted they had been fooling around with matches and had accidentally started the fire when one of the matches landed in a pile of rags that they had used to wipe up several gallons of gasoline they had spilled and didn’t want their parents to find out about it. They had received information about all of your promotions and that pushed them over the edge. They have been starting the fires in your districts and even this one today to get “revenge” for no one going into the house to try to save their parents. The youngest one did say that they knew from the start that you wouldn’t have been able to save their parents because they were asleep in the room that went first, but none of them wanted to admit it was their fault so they blamed you. I really hope your men are going to be alright, Chief.”

Hank had been listening to the explanation of why the original Station 51 A-shift had been targeted. It was all because of something four boys had done three years ago and then blamed on them. He turned to look at the members of that original crew. Johnny had received a bullet to the upper left arm. It looked like the bullet had gone clear through and that his paramedics had the bleeding stopped. Roy had received a bullet to the right thigh. It, too, looked like it had gone all the way through and his paramedics had the bleeding stopped. But everyone’s attention centered around Captain Mike Stoker. He had taken a bullet to the left side of his chest and from the snippets of conversation that Chief Stanley caught, it looked like the bullet was still in there. Turning back to the swat team leader, he noticed the man’s line of vision had followed his. “Thank you for everything. I think at least two of them are ok, we’ll just have to pray for the third one.”

As the three replacement companies finally had the fire under control, the ambulances containing the three captains were on their way to Rampart. Hank told all three engine crews to take the rigs and head to Rampart, too. He would send replacement crews there to pick them up. Less than one minute later the engines had pulled out and he was following having turned the scene over to the Captain of Station 16.


On the way to the hospital twenty minutes later, Hank realized he would have to call Nicole, Joanne and Beth. He would also have to call his own wife just to hear her voice. He was dreading having to place the calls, but that was a part of his job.


When Hank, Marco and Chet arrived at Rampart, they were surprised to see Beth, Nicole and Joanne arriving at the same time. Hank walked over to open the car door for Joanne. “Joanne, how did you find out?”

“Dixie called me and Beth and Nicole were at my house, so we came over as soon as possible. Hank, what happened?” Joanne was grateful to see a friendly face.

“Four brothers who set a fire three years ago that killed their parents, were trying to blame the deaths on our crew since we couldn’t get them out of the house before it burned. They started the fire today and then when we got there started shooting at us. The boys had shot the gauges on the engines and there was no pressure in the hoses, so we couldn’t fight the fire. Roy, Johnny and Mike acted as human shields to get their crews out of the building before it collapsed. They were caught in the cross fire and each one took a bullet. Mike was hurt the worst, I think, with a bullet wound to the chest. Roy was shot in the right thigh and the bullet when clear through. Johnny’s wound was to the upper left arm and it, too, went straight through. Let’s go in and see what the news is inside.” Hank held the door to the emergency room for the three ladies and then joined Chet and Marco to follow them in.


Dixie saw the group heading towards the ER nurse’s station and met them changing their direction towards the doctors’ lounge. When they entered, Nicole rushed into Johnny’s open arms. “How are you?”

“I’m fine. I’m just waiting for word on Roy and Mike.” Johnny had his upper arm bandaged and a sling to keep his arm from being jostled.

“Roy should be in here any minute, shouldn’t he? He was shot just like you and it went straight through, right? His paramedics got the bleeding stopped at the scene.” Chet figured Roy would be patched up and join them any moment.

“Well, there was a complication on the way to the hospital.” Dixie had been on her way to update Johnny when she met the rest of the group.

“What kind of complication, Dixie?” Joanne sat in the nearest chair. Her emotions were catching up to her.

“He started bleeding again and the paramedics couldn’t get it stopped. They took him directly to surgery. It seems the bullet nicked a main artery and they are repairing it now. He is going to be fine, but he lost a lot of blood. He will be staying with us for a few days.” Dixie saw everyone visually relax when she informed them that Roy would be ok.

“Dixie, how’s Mike?” Nicole was thankful that both Roy and Johnny were going to be ok, but Mike was family, too.

“Well, it isn’t too bad. The bullet is just a few inches from his heart, but it did not do any internal damage. I think he must have turned just right when the bullets started flying, because if he had been hit straight on, the bullet would have hit him directly in the heart. He is in surgery now and Kel just called down. Everything looks very good. He, too, will stay with us a few days. Roy and Mike will be roommates. I’ll come back and let you know when they are out of surgery.” Dixie smiled at the relieved faces in the room. She was glad she had such good news to tell them.


Two weeks later, Mike and Roy were sitting on Johnny’s deck watching as the members of their crews and their families as well as Johnny’s crew and families, Hank’s family, Dr. Early, Dr. Brackett, Dixie and Chief McConikee and his family were getting the tables set for their picnic. Everyone had ordered the two men to sit since they were still recuperating and Joanne and Beth had insisted on it. After a token protest, the two gave in and enjoyed watching the others.

“Mike?” Roy wanted to tell his friend how much he had appreciated his help in getting the crews out of the building and also what his friendship meant to him.

“Yeah, Roy?”

“I never got the chance to thank you for going back into that building with Johnny and me. Thanks. Man, I was scared when I saw you take that bullet. If anything had happened to you, it would have been so hard. I know I haven’t told you before, but, Mike, I think of you as a brother—almost as close as Johnny and I know he feels the same way.”

“Roy, I was glad to be able to help because I feel the same way about you and Johnny even though I haven’t told you before either. I know that if anything ever happens to any of us, all of us are going to have a very hard time dealing with it.”

The two men exchanged warm smiles and quickly changed the topic before either one could get too emotional.


June 1981

Johnny and Nicole were on the trail going through the woods of the Seminole Indian Reservation in Wewoka, Oklahoma enjoying their walk. Something had pulled at both of them to come back to where they had grown up. In Nicole’s hometown things had not changed much—including the prejudice. So they had left there and arrived in Johnny’s hometown two days ago. There things had changed—guys that Johnny thought hated him for being a half-breed welcomed him with open arms.

They had left the kids with Johnny’s childhood friend, Edward Crowe. Johnny had been surprised when he ran into Edward again after all these years. In school Edward had been one of the guys who had teased him the most about being a half-breed. But when they had run into each other in the hotel parking lot, Edward greeted him like he was one of his best friends. During the talk they had over a cup of coffee later that day, Edward had told Johnny that he had really wanted to be friends where they were growing up but was too afraid to go against the rest of the guys so he taunted Johnny unmercifully.

Johnny accepted Edward’s apology and soon the two turned to talking about their careers. Edward had become the Chief of the Wakowa Fire Department and was very interested in hearing about Johnny’s career as a paramedic and now a Captain in the LA county fire department.

“Johnny? How long are you in town for? Would you be interested in coming to talk to the Tribal Council about the paramedic program? I think it would be good to try to get something like that started here on the reservation.” Edward was thankful that Johnny had been able to overcome all that he had gone through growing up both at home and at school and had escaped what others had just given into.

“We’re here until the end of next week. I’d love to. When would you like me to come?”

“I’ll call Mark Whitehorse and set up a meeting as soon as possible. I’ll get in touch with you tonight at the hotel. And thanks, Johnny.”

“You’re welcome, Edward. It has been good seeing you again. Thanks for the coffee and let me know what you find out.”

Neither man noticed the look they received from another patron in the restaurant as they were leaving and laughing over some of the things they remembered about their school days together. If they had, both men would have seen the hatred and been prepared to deal with what lay ahead for them.

To be continued in Family

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