Friday, June 17, 2011

The Charleston Nine.

I am not a good writer. Especially when it comes to my feelings. Especially when I get tears in my eyes before I even type anything. So I apologize if this is random and jumbled.

I met Louis in middle school. He was dating (and eventually married) my friend Jenna's mom. Jenna and I played soccer and cheered together so we were together quite often. I remember loving going over to their house. Louis was so much fun and always made me laugh. He wasn't exactly bad looking, either. :) He and Jenna's mom later went separate ways but everytime I saw Louis, he was still the same ol' guy.

After college, I was working a full-time job as a sales coordinator for an inn and part-time at Outback Steakhouse (where I had worked all through college). One night, I was working on the patio and was told by the hostess that I was about to have a large party of firefighters. I though, "ooh, this should be fun!!" and I may have put on a little bit of lipgloss before I greeted the table. What? Gotta make those tips! I walked up to the table and was so excited to see Louis sitting there! I caught up on his life, told him what was going on in mine, and I met his new wife, Lauren. I remember thinking that she was absolutely beautiful and I could tell how happy he was with her. That was the last time I saw Louis.

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I didn't even know about the fire until the morning after it happened. My mom sent me a text while I was at work letting me know. Then I got the next text. She had heard that Louis was one of the nine firefighters that got trapped inside the burning building that collapsed. My heart sank. I ran to the employee breakroom to watch the news. It was confirmed. My heart broke. It didn't seem real.

I went to the wake. The line was SO LONG and understandably so! Louis made an impact on everyone he came in contact with, young or old. I saw and spoke to Lauren and she remembered me as "The Outback Girl," which I was surprised she remembered me at all!There was also a memorial service at our high school football field that I went to with my parents. I remember seeing my Dad cry for maybe the third time in my life (which of course only makes me cry harder). It was a very tough day but I remember smiling just thinking about goofy Louis.

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I drive by the site of the fire very often. Before I moved in with Cameron, I lived in the neighborhood behind the site for three years. Everytime I drive by it, I make sure to say hello to Louis and tell him that we miss him. Sometimes outloud, sometimes in my head if there is anyone else in the car with me.

This Saturday will mark the fourth anniversary of the fire. Caroline and I plan on stopping by the site in the morning to remember Louis. We'll probably shed some tears, but there will definitely be some funny stories about him.

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For more information on the Sofa Super Store fire, click here.

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Other than firefighting, coaching basketball and football were Louis' other passions. He treated the players as if they were his own children.

Please watch these videos. I promise you'll be glad you did (you may just want to grab some tissue first).

Part 1.   Part 2.

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We love you and miss you, Louis!

15 comments :

  1. This made me tear up.... wow. What a heartbreaking story, 9 lives lost... but I know it would make him smile, and actually he probably is smiling down on you, knowing that you have not forgotten him and all the good memories you have of him! and that you wrote about him on your blog for loads of people to read about him :-)

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  2. It was a mere 2 minutes in and I was tearing up. Thank you so much for sharing this Megan! I'm sure he's smiling down on you today :)

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  3. Aww, Megan, this was so sweet! I miss him, too! Katie and I were playing tennis when I came home to solemn faces. Matt had gotten a phone call that Louis may have been one of the 9. I will never forget that night. Tomorrow definitely won't be easy, but like you said, we just need to remember the funny Louis, which shouldn't be hard!

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  4. so sad! i am so sorry about your friend. i was in edisto when this happened and i will never ever forget. ben and i drove past the sofa store the day after it burned down. such a horrible tragedy. thinking of you-

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  5. I will never forget the day that this happened either. Thank you for sharing Louis's story, it was so touching and heartfelt! p.s. I used to work at Outback too, haha!

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  6. You are a great writer, as I'm tearing up just reading this. The sacrifices people make for others is unbelievable. What a great tribute to your friend. xx.

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  7. I remember that fire too. I had just moved into my new apartment and was planning on going to SSS the next day to pick out my couch. I used to work right down the street and would pass by it often.

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  8. What a sweet but heartbreaking story Megan. There are tears in my eyes....thank you for sharing!

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  9. You did a great job capturing the story. I'll never forget that day either.

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  10. I got chills reading this! Thinking about you this weekend!

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  11. Beautifully written. Such a sad, yet inspiring story. I will never forget where I was when I heard. I am sorry for your lost and will be thinking about you this weekend.

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  12. I can't imagine how awful something like that would be. Thank you for sharing your story of his memory!

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  13. Such a sad story, but I'm glad that you're also being sure to remember and celebrate the good memories!

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  14. Oh sweetie! I am so so sorry for your loss. I think that you did an amazing job writing about what happened and I hope writing has helped you remember him in a positive way! Hugs!!!!*

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  15. I know I'm late, but I just want to say that this post really touched my heart. I'm so sorry for your loss and truly enjoyed seeing this video. I had tears in my eyes and chills on my arms and legs the entire time. It was so moving. I worked at a law firm on Orleans Road when this happened and I remember the smoke and flames so vividly. The tragic loss is terribly sad and it was sweet of you to post and remember this special date.

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