A Tribute to a Long Time Brother and Life Member of Bower Hill Volunteer Fire Department
by: Amy Philips Haller
To define the word dedicated means .. Wholly committed to a particular course of thought or action." It seems if you were to ask any Bower Hill member who had both the honor and privilege to know Richie Braun, they would immediately tell you the man was "dedicated." Based on this definition; his history; and his very actions; one would have to agree.
With over 50 years of service under his belt, Mr. Braun was a member of Bower Hill when the building was still located on Montgomery Avenue; which was prior to 1953. He served the department in many capacities: Needless to say he had years of knowledge to share with members; as well as a fierce loyalty. As Captain, he was committed to the call. "If he was home, he made the call. It didn't matter what time of the day it was or what he was doing; he was there. I mean he WAS committed. Richie always made the call," stated his former chief and colleague, Bob Berdnik.
But Rich's sense of dedication didn't stop with racing to the fire; that is where it began. "He never missed a Bingo. He was there every week, " stated Berdnik. Ed Meyer reminisces over the many projects that the department would have on hand. "In those days you didn't hire contractors to fix the problems. You did everything yourself. So if we had a problem, we were all there trying to get it fixed. Well Richie was always the project manager. He would be right there with us, telling us how to do it and giving us advice. He was sort of the mayor of all projects."
Whether the project had to do with the juniors, or carnival, or an important vote at a meeting, you could count on Richie Braun to be there. It doesn't matter who you talk to, anyone who knew Richie would tell you the same thing. He was always there. If the juniors needed help with a parade, he'd help out. If there was a fundraising event, he would attend. If there was a fire, he answered the alarm. In other words, he was "Wholly committed to a particular course of thought or action." And in this case, Bower Hill was the focus of his unwavering dedication.
On April 20th, Mr. Richie Braun left this world; But to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson,
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
Through the course of this man's lifetime, he has dedicated himself to a world full of success; and those of us who had the good fortune know him have all become a bit better for it. Some men live by words, but Richie Braun lived by action; and the legacy of his dedication will continue. Every time a person rides past the Bower Hill Fire Station, or a life is saved, you can be assured it is because of his teamwork that we stand so solid today. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his family as we mourn the loss of this great man who truly is an example to us all. We are honored to have known him.