Just spent a week in Alaska, after the death of my little brother Andy, who died of cancer at age 45.
Andy was an Anchorage fireman, who is believed to have contracted renal cancer from burning wires on the job 13 years ago. Because of this, he is ruled to have died in the line of duty, thanks to a state provision he himself worked on before he ever got sick.
So last Friday, hundreds of firemen marched in a procession through the streets of Anchorage in his honor, and the flags in the state were flown at half-mast.
Andy had lived in Alaska for the past 27 years. He was a world traveler, a great father and a great friend to a lot of people, many of whom I had the honor to meet when I was up there.
I wish I'd gotten a chance to see him more often in the past few decades.
He will be missed.