By Tony Hicks
Friday, July 30th, 2010 at 9:10 am in Uncategorized.
Dr. Robert Litman appeared Wednesday night at the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District meeting to thank the firefighters who saved his life June 22, when a fire destroyed his Blackhawk home, killing his 19-year-old son.
Among the five firefighters that searched the house, while the roof collapsed around them, and found Litman unconscious in a bathroom before pulling him to safety, was my pal Rich Perry. He’s the comparatively short, burly guy in the middle of picture No. 3, lacking hair (You can make fun of heroes’ lack of hair if you’ve known them for 32 years).
Rich was one of five firefighters to receive the Medal of Valor, the department’s highest decoration. Which isn’t surprising if you know Rich. He’s fearless, he cares, and he’s great at the only job he’s ever wanted since we were kids (not including the short stint of wanting to be a stuntman, when I saw him run through a screen door. He also once “accidentally” set my yard on fire but I have to admit he put it out pretty fast).
Rich was my neighbor and one of my first friends when I moved to San Ramon in the late 70s. I could tell you some of the things we did together throughout high school, but then they might take his medal away. I could post pictures, but then he might try running me over with his fire truck.
Not only has Rich pulled people from burning buildings, he crawled around the Cyprus Structure looking for survivors after the ’89 earthquake and nearly got cooked in the Oakland Hills fire. He does things the rest of us can’t, which is why he (and all the guys who do his insane job) deserves all the medals he can get. Even if they’ll all tell you they’re just doing their job.
Nice work Rich.