A Memory: The Best Deal of my Life

I was about 14 and Dave was about 11 when, shortly after we moved back to the U.S., we got some pet-mice. A simple purchase of 3 female mice turned into a saga of 3 female mice, one of whom was already pregnant and ended up having 11 babies. We had to do research about what momma would need to feel comfortable having her babies — separating her from the other mice, not touching the nest too early (stressed out mice-moms will kill and eat their own young! Yikes!), separating the male/female young around the age of three weeks before they are mature enough to…uh…make their own babies (this is a whole complicated process since their sex organs aren’t visible at this age). Anyways, you now know a lot more about mice then you ever needed to. Long story short, it was quite the adventure.

Well, we ended up giving the 3 male babies away and keeping the females. Now we had 11 mice to take care of, instead of 3, and let me tell you…that’s quite a bit of work. The bedding in the terrarium has to be changed frequently or it gets smelly quickly. They have to be fed. And, if you don’t want them to be scared and shy, you have to spend time socializing them too! I can’t tell you how frustrated our mom got with us because she had to run after us to do everything we needed to do with those little creatures! But, we did “make up for it” with our regular mouse-circus performances. Fun fact: we even kept a journal about the mice that outlined their unique “personalities,” likes and dislikes, as well a any special skills they had (e.g., they were really good at balancing on a piece of string).

At that time we also had a cat. Dave and I were supposed to take turns cleaning the litter box, the same as we were supposed to take turns cleaning the terrarium for the mice. One time, Dave was feeling lazy and didn’t want to take care of the kitty litter. As I remember it, he also REALLY wanted this computer game that had come out. Somehow we ended up negotiating our pet chores and, taking full advantage of the fact that he was feeling lazy and wanted instant gratification in regards to procuring the computer game, I suggested what I still consider the best deal of my life. I told him, I’d do the kitty litter AND give him $50 for his game if he took care of the mice from that day forth.

He accepted.

While I took full advantage of poor Dave’s naiveté when I made this deal, I have to give it to him: he NEVER rescinded on our deal. He just kept cleaning the mouse cage till they were all gone.

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A few years after our “deal” with our German Shepherd Quindy & kitty Kiki

 

A Story: The Legend of Stonewall

“As promised (although somewhat delayed), here is the true story of how Dave and Mike became the stars of Stonewall for a night.

Once upon a time, there was a girl who was flirting with me.  This was a rare occurrence, so when she invited me to her birthday party at the Stonewall Inn, I of course said yes.  Well, after Jessie and my boss told me to say yes.  The appointed date arrived and the 3 of us set out after work to join the festivities already in progress.  We walked through the door and as we started upstairs to the party, who should we see but the birthday girl. And her girlfriend. 

Obviously this night was not going to go the way I’d hoped.

But, we were already there and there was no way to make a graceful exit so soon.  In an effort to salvage the night, we racked our brains trying to think of who we could get to come out with us.  The rest of the platoon had undoubtedly gone home already, but almost immediately two names sprang to mind: Hofer and Sarro.  Regardless of the fact that it was after midnight, and they weren’t even working that day, there was no question in any of our minds that they would be together and they would come out with us.  Sure enough, when Jessie sent her text, it was met with a yes and a request for an address.

Shortly thereafter, Dave and Mike fought their way through the crowd and found us.  The first question they asked was: “So, what kind of place is this?”  Upon learning that it was a gay bar, they shrugged and ordered a drink. 

They then commenced to dance with each other and every girl around them. 

At one point, there was a girl standing behind Dave.  He and Mike would stroke her hair, and when she turned around, they would give her the best innocent look they could muster.  Finally, the girl’s girlfriend caught them.  I cringed inside, afraid that she was going to try to start a fight, but the boys turned on the charm and soon enough they were all best friends.  Unfortunately, someone who shall remain nameless spilled (deliberately poured) a drink on someone else, so she departed in haste, but the rest of us stayed until the wee hours, having a grand old time.  The next day, we were all the worse for wear but those of us who were there will still swear that it was one of the legendary nights out “when four-bys were fun.”

I wish I had a picture of that night with Dave and Mike in it, but I can’t find one.  Maybe it’s for the best that there’s no evidence of the shenanigans.”

~ Kerry, NYPD

A Story: Pretty woMAN

“Throughout my life, David has been one of the most present friends I’ve ever had.  I’ve known him since middle school and he has consistently kept in touch and reached out to me to connect with him.

In middle school and high school, David was that friend with the awesome apartment that invited me over pretty much every other weekend.  We were a bit awkward together, but found solace bonding over Dragon Ball Z and playing video games.  He always sat me down to play games with him… where he pretty much wrecked me every time.  That set the tone of our friendship. We hung out in loud places such as bars with friends and one on one gaming together or just chatting at his place.  We stayed in touch, when I was in college.  Whenever I was back home, I always took time off to chill with David.  In Seattle, we kept in touch over Xbox Live and the occasional call.   And back in New York, I was always with Dave until he left to Texas.

After high school, I had my heart broken by a crush that broke up with me, which lasted a good time even into college.  David took it upon himself to get me back into dating.  His method was simple, get me as drunk as he could possibly get me, point to someone and push me into that person. Sometimes, he’d even tell that person some fake story about me!  I would awkwardly fumble through whatever situation he put me in. 

I always had a lot of fun hanging out with him.  He always pushed me. He’d tell me to just talk to people and get comfortable.  He even took it upon himself to get a friend to “pretty woman” me and clean me up for dating after he left for Texas!  He helped me break out of my comfort zone, and I appreciated it and was always down to hang with him and act stupid.”

~ Greg T., Friend

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A break from snowmobiling on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in Rangeley, Maine

A Story: On Missing The Last Train Out

“I met Dave when we both worked together in the beginning of our careers, our lockers were close to each other’s in the same row at work.  And like many of the friendships he started, ours began with him encouraging me to go out with him after our tour.  I was sometimes reluctant because I knew that if I went with him I’d end up missing my late train from Penn station and would have to end up having to “wait” until the early morning train.  And “waiting” just means staying out longer. Anyone who relies on the LIRR knows what that means.  But when I gave in I never regretted it (accept for maybe the slight hang-over) and when I agreed he usually responded with a,“yeah kiiiiiiiiiiid!”

He took me to his spot, introduced me to all his friends, and made sure I was always taken care of.  He was always having a good time and just wanted me to have a good time too.  It was that simple.  He wanted to share this happiness with anyone and everyone, he didn’t keep it to himself.  Texas was no different.  I remember when he first called me to tell me about his plans.  My phone rang and when I answered, his first words were literally, “North Richland Hills”, which is one of the City’s close to Euless.  At that time, when you took the entrance exam for Euless PD, that exam made you eligible for several other departments that hire off of the same list, North Richland Hills included.  He was so pumped to pursue his career down there, and so excited to build that dream life (and especially to have his own pool), that how he got there and where he worked was just, at first, a minor technicality.  Eventually he called me back to tell me it was Euless he really wanted, but I still laugh at that first call.  And right away he was encouraging me to take the test too. He hadn’t even been there yet! He was just so sure about it.

He told me about everything, step-by-step on the whole process, and we talked often once he left.  I had been down to visit and saw everything first hand just as he described. Himself, Marta and the rest of his Texas family have built a great new home in a short period of time.

As has already been described time and time again, Dave was a great, loyal, honest, dependable and trustworthy friend.  He was my go-to for advice and he was always good for a laugh.  Especially when he used his German accent, which was probably my favorite thing.”

~ Sean F., former NYPD

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A Tribute: Three Months Gone (and a Slideshow)

Today marks three months since Dave was killed. How surreal. In this time, I can honestly say that I have done nothing but think about him and the circumstances of his death. It makes me feel like I’m a bit in a time-warp, like everything just happened. But then, in a way, that makes sense. His being gone means a complete restructuring of everything I thought I knew about what my life would be like. I may have had many possible versions for my life when I thought about what the future might bring, but fundamentally, he was part of all of those versions. I say this as Dave’s sister, and I know it’s even more acute for Marta. The most heart-breaking thought, to me, is that when I eventually have children, they won’t know Dave. Someone who was so, so, so important to me, will simply be a collection of stories to them.

I thought it fitting to post the slideshow that Lucas Funeral Homes put together for Dave’s viewing. If you have 10 minutes, and are somewhere private (because: tears), watch it.

David was a son, a fiancee, a brother, a grandson, an uncle, a cousin, a best friend to so, so many, and the funniest dang person any of us knew. If love alone could have kept him safe, he would be with us still.

A Story: Taking the Jump

Dave seemed to have a knack for being memorable even through the briefest of interactions. He truly understood people and could bridge gaps like very few people I know. Here is another example.

First and foremost, I want to express how sorry I am for your loss.  Our thoughts and prayers have been, and will always be with your family, Marta, and those closest to Dave.  Though my fiancee and I didn’t know Dave very long, or very well, I still felt compelled to share a memory of him, because it truly is a testament to his generosity, his character, his love of the job and of Texas.  

My fiancee and I, both born and raised in New York, were told by friends about an opportunity to possibly work and live in Texas.  My fiancee loved the whole idea from the get-go, but being the typical Type A personality that I am, I knew that if I was even going to consider this craziness, I would need to do my research and see all of it first-hand before I made a decision.  Enter Dave.  My fiancee was given his number, and they talked back and forth for several days about the possibilities that Texas presented for us.  As the days went on, I was getting a bit skeptical about this mysterious “Dave” character. 

Eventually after many, many conversations, we decided to fly down to Texas for a few days to check out the area and see it all for ourselves.  Dave and Marta, without ever having met me at all, were more than willing to meet us and show us around. For the few days we were there, they worked around their already busy schedules to show us their favorite spots in the area.  Total Wine was one of the first places Dave told us about (because, priorities).  Babe’s Chicken Dinner House gave us a real Texas feel, and the Shops at Legacy made me see that this wasn’t exactly the rural version of Texas I had envisioned.  They showed us restaurants, shops, apartment complexes, you name it, and when they couldn’t physically be with us, they pointed us in the right direction.  Dave even took my fiancee on a ride along so that he could see first hand what the department was like. I was in awe of their generosity, their kindness, and of Texas. But still, I was hesitant about making a move this big.

On our last day, before we made our way to the airport, Dave took my fiancee and I to TruFire, which was yet another delicious choice.  My fiancee left the table for a moment, and without me having to say a word, Dave called me out on my hesitation.  He asked what was holding me back, and wanted to know what my biggest concern was.  I told him that this was a big risk.  I was afraid I’d miss my family too much, and that taking a jump this big would ultimately end up being a big mistake.  I held my breath a bit, because I knew how Dave felt about Texas, and his decision to move here, and considering he had spent the last few days showing us around,  I was anticipating a little irritation in his response.  I got the opposite.  Dave was considerate and honest.  He told me that he understood my concerns, that they were valid, and that ultimately and obviously it was our decision to make, but that he could guarantee if we took the jump, I wouldn’t regret it.  

Fast forward to now, May of 2016.  I’ve been living in Texas for almost a year and some of my favorite places are still ones that Dave and Marta showed me during our first visit. Our journey here has had its ups and downs, its twists and turns, and it certainly did not turn out like we had originally planned, but what more can be expected of life?  Although my fiancee and I are making our way back to New York next month, I couldn’t be happier with our decision to have moved here.  It is an experience that I am truly grateful for and one I will never forget.

As I reflect back on our time here, I can’t help but think back to our first trip to Texas.  Dave’s love for this place and the possibilities it presented inspired me to push outside of my comfort zone and take a leap of faith, something I don’t often do.  Although we didn’t speak much, and didn’t know each other well, I will always be grateful to have met him.  Ultimately, he was right. I took the jump, and I don’t regret it. 

– Dana F.

A Story: Jaeger

This is part 5 of a longer note I received from Bryan R. about the Dave’s “humorously paradoxical lifestyle” as Bryan so nicely put it. I decided to make it into a few posts that will be posted in the coming days. For related posts see: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3; Part 4.

“After a hard-night’s work, myself, Dave and others enjoyed heading out for a beverage and relaxation. He’d whine: “Why does everyone come to me and ask me about plans for tonight?” Yet mass-texts would fly out of his phone during the course of a tour, stating exactly where he would head to. While we might wake up the next day feeling sluggish (if you catch my euphemism), he still enjoyed going out that very next night. 

“Who cares if you feel like crap?! Drink Jaeger; it cures everything.  Flu?  Jaeger.  Strep?  Jaeger.  Dude, I’m telling you, I don’t know how not one person has caught on to this.”

~ Bryan R., NYPD