Eugene when he worked as a Paramedic

The grieving process is difficult to go through, especially when it is for someone who was an integral part of your life. When I heard that Eugene (Charles) was killed in a car accident last week, I was devastated. There have been only a few times in my past that I have gone to God asking why them, why now, they had so much more potential to give our world. Eugene was one of those. Going through this has brought back almost 40 years of memories. Please bear with me since I express myself better with written words instead of verbally. What I found out is that there were more good memories than bad.

One of the bad ones was when Eugene was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Disease when he was in his late teens. He was in the hospital for a long time. At one point I heard that the disease had spread to other organs, and I thought that was going to be the end for him. There were a lot of people praying for him. Not long after that I saw him, and I asked how he was doing. He said ‘Fine’ like as if nothing was wrong. I later found out that he was cured of Hodgkin’s but never heard if it was by prayer or medicine. He told me that one time someone had visited him while in the hospital and said something about his disease and why he had it, he had responded that “…if I did not have this disease and was not here at this time, I would not have been able to lead my hospital roommate to the Lord.” That statement had a huge impact on my life that when I found out that I had kidney cancer, I wondered how God was going to use me through this and that is how I approached my disease. After going through the battle with cancer, I have been able to talk with other people facing that battle themselves to encourage and council them. So, this bad memory ended up being a good one.

One of the good memories is when Eugene showed up for a multi-camera shoot in the TV truck, he mentioned that he went to lunch with a friend and rode in a cool Corvette. The next week, that friend was at the service and Eugene introduced us. I asked him about his Corvette, and he gave me the history of it. He had bought it at a Police Auction and had it rebuilt with new parts in place of the missing parts. He went on to say that he was thinking of selling it. Really long story short, I ended up buying that Corvette, the same Corvette I still have today 35 years later. About a year later Eugene had just started working as an EMT/Ambulance Driver. One day he and I drove the Corvette to Galveston to cruise the seawall. While there a Mustang tried to get us to race. He was showing off with short burnouts. Eugene held up his EMS badge which looked a lot like a Police badge. The Mustang settled down and turned at the first road. I laughed and asked where he got the badge. That was when I found out that first responders had badges.

Another good memory is the stories Eugene told me of his Ambulance experiences. He said that one of the cool things he liked was when working in downtown Houston at night, the way the flashing lights reflected off the buildings as he drove fast through the empty streets with the song Sledgehammer playing on the radio. I could clearly picture that in my mind.

When I left my job at Phil Arms in 1987, I did not see Eugene much, but we kept in contact over the years. It was when I was diagnosed with Renal Cell Carcinoma (Kidney cancer) is when I saw him more often, but only for short visits after my surgery. He later contacted me a couple of times asking if I would talk with someone who was going through dealing with cancer. I gladly followed up on that which always turned out to be a blessing for me as I counseled with them.

I will miss his smile and chuckle as he started telling a joke or about to tell me of something funny that happened. As I prayed and asked ‘Why?’, I now have a peace about his passing. I continue to pray for his family as they seek peace.