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What Would People Think?

Monday, August 20, 2007

In Honor of Gary Jensen

I never met Gary Jensen, one of the three rescuers who perished trying to rescue those six trapped men in a collapsed Utah mine. I had never heard of him until he was already dead. But part of me still feels his loss.

I know little about Jensen, but I know this: he and I were on the same "team" - the Department of Labor. We both make a living fighting for the rights of others, but Jensen did so in a much more immediate way. He was a member of the Mine Safety and Health Administration's rescue team.

I don't know much about him, but I know he chose a dangerous job - one where he willingly put himself in harm's way to save others' lives. I know he was trying to do exactly that when he died.

I don't mean to elevate Jensen's death above the other two who perished in the rescue effort. All died tragically in the midst of a noble effort to rescue others. But Jensen's death hits closer to home because he's "one of us." I didn't know him, but I work with men like him every day. It's weird to think I could still send him an e-mail right now in our DOL Intranet...and he'll never answer. I'm staring at his work phone number (again, via the DOL Intranet) and I have this absurd notion I should call him and thank him.

But that's just bizarre. This blog post is the best chance I'll get.

So this one goes out to you, Gary. You worked honorably, died tragically & nobly, and inspired love in those who knew you and admiration in those who didn't.

I don't know you.......but, dammit, I still thank you.


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