Bob Rouse is a co-worker of mine. He's a correctional officer and has been with the department a good many years. His wife is the Warden at one of the local State Prisons which my oldest sister work's for.

Bob's the kind of worker that is negative. You know the type...nothing seems to make him happy when it comes to work. I remember when we got the new uniforms; he immediately hated them because they were cheaply made (he was right). He ironed his shirts and scorched all 5 of them - noticeably scorched. I told him to see me for new ones. Absolutely not, he insisted on wearing those scorched shirts as some kind of statement. After 2 years, he did exchange them for new ones. Despite his negative side, he was like a big teddy bear and you couldn't help but love him. His wife and he went on several cruises, they enjoyed them so much.

Back in September, Bob had some really bad back pain; but being the good employee he showed up for work with the pain. Eventually though it got bad enough that he couldn't stand straight. The Warden told him not to come back to work until he saw a doctor.

I'm sure you know where this is going. Tests showed that Bob had lung cancer. Being the trooper he was he was determined to fight it. There were set backs. Twice he needed blood transfusions due to becoming anemic, after the first blood transfusion an MRI indicated that the cancer was also in his bones as well as his brain..he was considered terminal. But Bob continued to fight and decided to go the chemo/radiation route. Last week he was in the hospital with pneumonia. Another officer had visited and asked if he needed anything. He said he would like to have one of those motorized scooters to get around his house in. Due to his weakness he always needed his wife to help him to the bathroom and such and he was afraid that since he was so much bigger than her that she may get hurt in the process. Unfortunately, the insurance wouldn't pay for the purchase.

Over the weekend I thought about this. I emailed another officer - Steve - to see if he thought a collection could be possible for this purchase. He definitely felt it would work. Since I'm off work this week, I emailed Kathy to email the county contact to request a "casual day fundraiser" be set ASAP; Steve was going to handle the employee collection. Everything fell into place yesterday and was a go.

Last night I woke up thinking..."I'm off work and don't get a newspaper; what if Bob dies and no one calls me and I miss the funeral?" Odd thought I know, but for some reason it woke me up. That call came from Steve at 8:30 this morning...Bob had passed away last night.

This one is going to be a really hard one.