This section is
in memory of friends, or people who are important to friends
of mine who have passed.
Scott Burke - March 30, 2009 - January 11, 2010
Scott Burke was born fighting for his life. I have never met
him, nor his family, but his dad Kevin is a member on the Lightfighter
Tactical forum of which I'm also a member. Reagan was born with
tracheoesphageal fistula (TEF) and a double-outlet ventricle.
TEF is a condition where an abnormal connection between the
esophagus and trachea exists; where they are normally two separate
tubes that are not connected. Liquid can therefore get into
the lungs when swallowing, from which complications like pneumonia
can arise. A double outlet ventricle (DORV) is a congenital
heart condition in which both the pulmonary artery and aorta
arise from the right ventricle (the aorta normally arises from
the left ventricle). Both conditions usually have to be corrected
Reagan was born, Kevin started a thread on the forum, asking
for prayers, and many answered. From that time on, he would
update the LF community periodically with status on Reagan's
battles. Like many other members, I checked the thread frequently,
hoping for good news or no news. As with some other things,
no news was often good news, and it meant that Reagan was still
fighting his battle.
my own son was born in Dec '07, he was back in the hospital
within the first week with a serious infection. The doctor told
us that if we had waited a couple of days more before bringing
him in, it could have been fatal. My wife and I spent the next
10 days in the hospital, sick with worry (and her trying to
recover from the birth), with our week-old son hooked up to
tubes, needles and monitors. It was physically, mentally and
emotionally exhausting, and I found out that the fear that you
have for the life of your child is much greater than you have
for your own. My own experience can only give me the slightest
hint of what Reagan's family endured for nine whole months.
I'm not sure I'd have had the spirit, energy or inclination
to update people I didn't know on a forum, but Kevin did, because
he knew that we cared, and had a whole community of folk pulling
for his family and his little guy with prayers, hope, good vibes
and offers of support.
Kevin's updates was a roller-coaster ride with highs, lows and
a lot of scares in-between. I know that each time I read Kevin's
updates, I hugged my son afterwards just a little bit harder,
and sweated the small stuff a little less. In the short time
he spent on Earth, little Reagan went through 6 major surgeries
and a number of minor procedures. Of his nine+ months, seven
were spent in the hospital. He was able to spend two months
at home, where he was happy. Many a time, Reagan showed his
fighting spirit when he defied the doctors by pulling through
when hope was almost lost.
Jan 11, 2010, Kevin posted the update all of us hoped would
never come. Reagan passed away in his parents' arms at 4:48
pm from heart failure. He
almost came back in the end, but the internal damage was just
too much. Reagan left just like he had arrived - fighting.
is survived by his mom (Shirley), dad (Kevin) and brother (Colin).
I know that I am not alone when I write that while my family
has not shared the Burke's loss, we, along with many others
share in their grief.
Rest In Peace, sweet child.
copyright Kevin Burke
Kohlstrom - April 19, 1971 - September 10, 2009
first introduced himself via email in either late 2002 or early
2003, when he ran 'gogetemgear.com'. He was a Staff Sergeant
in A CO 1/1 SFG(A) in Okinawa, and wrote to ask about gear after
finding my website. Dan was very down to earth from the very
beginning. He'd ask for my opinion, and listened seriously (which
surprised me at first), even though he was a Special Forces
Soldier, and I was...just an average Joe civilian with gear.
He explained "I have seen great ideas come from the civilian
world and shitty ideas come from the military side. Just because
I'm in SF really shouldn't let that keep me from searching out
good info." And so we started our correspondence. Dan was
very active on the internet, and on various forums discussing
tactical gear, knives, tactical medicine etc. I'd see his familiar
posts as 'Javahed' or 'Javahedz/s' on many of them, or his gear
reviews on backpacking and camping websites. I think that he
was more of a geardo than I was. The difference was that he
actually used his for 'real'. Even so, he'd connect me to manufacturers
that he thought would be interested in my site, or that I'd
be interested in looking at.
also found that we shared similar interests besides guns and
gear (hobby for me, work for him); photography, hiking, fitness
and motorcycles were also subjects that he wrote about enthusiastically.
One thing that stands out in my mind is that he'd often sign
off with a 'Have fun! Dan'. And that's what he seemed to be
doing to the fullest. He had a fun-loving personality, a great
sense of humour and energy that was conveyed through his writing.
We finally met in person at the 2005 SHOT show in Vegas, where
we walked the aisles, checking out the gear. He was both warm
and humble, with a bit of cheeky rascal thrown in.
he got out of the Army, he'd send sporadic emails with pictures
taken in exotic locales, or Mel from Kifaru would hear from
him, and tell me 'Dan's in Africa now' etc. Dan was also part
of the Lightfighter.net community from early on, and was a frequent
poster there. His posts contributed a lot of information, hilarity
and enjoyment to the forum, and his presence was missed when
his posts dropped off. He'd jump in from time to time, and each
time would be greeted like an old friend.
was to my shock and dismay when I read on Lightfighter yesterday,
that Dan had passed away suddenly in his sleep, working as a
medic with a government contracted company in Afghanistan, on
September 10, 2009, leaving his wife of only 8 months, Tiffany
(Kovitch) Kohlstrom, his two children, Zachary (who shares Dan's
eye and talent for photography) and Sydney, and his mother,
Beverly Kohlstrom of Princeton (MA).
was only 38. Three years younger than I am now. Too soon, way
too soon. I just couldn't believe it. He should have been climbing
mountains for decades to come. I looked at some of the photos
that Dan had taken on his travels in his online album, and got
a glimpse into the world that Dan saw, and his appreciation
of the natural beauty and people around him. My heartfelt condolences
go out to his family.
Rest In Peace. You'll be missed.
copyright Dan Kohlstrom
Holtgrefe - Aug 11, 1964 - Dec 8, 2007 Former U.S.
was a friend, motorcycle riding buddy, and part of the extended
family at the Torrance Airsoft Extreme store where I met him
through the owner, Andrew Ho. Steve was a fellow who loved his
hobbies - airsoft, motorcycles, shooting, scale and R/C models,
and his classic Lotus 7 car. Always easy going and amiable,
he had a quiet, friendly nature and wry sense of humour. He'd
sometimes communicate with a nod of the head and raised eyebrow
rather than words. I don't think I can recall a time when I
saw him without a smile on his face, or the hint of one. He
was always quick to help anyone in need, and enjoyed being around
the people he shared his hobbies with.
He rode his motorcycle erratically, and those who followed him
were wise to keep a safe distance as he'd speed up or slow down
for no apparent reason. It'd definitely keep you on your toes
(or brakes). I'll miss the sight and sound of him on his Honda
RC51 with the one pipe higher than the other, giving the bike
a slightly lop-sided appearance from behind (he's dropped it
on one side). When I got my Ducati 996, we compared the throaty
growl of our bikes' V-twin engines exhausts side-by-side, and
he said "I still think mine's louder". He was wrong,
He loved driving his Lotus 7 car as much as riding his motorcycle
in the twisty mountain highways, and that was a fun car to watch
when I was on the bike.
It was while doing something he loved that he passed, and for
that he is lucky. He passed away during an airsoft game, surrounded
by friends and fellow hobbyists alike. We could only hope to
be as fortunate to be amongst those we love when we die, but
for Steve, that time came too soon and unexpectedly.
My wife had just given birth to our son on Dec 2nd, and a few
days later he had a serious infection that put him back in the
hospital for a week. The doctor told us that if it had been
allowed to spread a couple of days more, it could have been
fatal. It was during that stressful time that Andrew Ho called
to tell me about Steve the evening of the day that he died.
I was in disbelief, and it hit me hard as I had just been contemplating
the fragility of us humans all week while spending day and night
in the hospital, watching over my week-old son hooked up to
needles and wires. One day we're here, the next we're gone.
But ever since Steve died, he's been on my mind daily, as I
reminisce about conversations we've had or replay scenes in
my mind. As I do so, I realize that Steve lives on in my memory,
as do others that have passed, and to some extent, will always
be here with me. RIP, Steve. You are missed.
more about Steve from the words of his other friends, please
Memorial Page on the AEX website.
Ho has received many emails and calls in the past week from
many people, some of whom do not even know Steve, to express
their condolences. Their wish to show support for Steve's family
and friends include offers of financial contributions which
the family has declined. With the family's permission, Andrew
has set up this memorial page with the American Heart Association
for Steve's friends and fellow hobby enthusiasts so you can
make a contribution in Steve's honor and, just as importantly,
leave a message in the guestbook to share your thoughts with
Steve's family and friends.
to view the Fund Page for Steve Holtgrefe.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can
visit the web address:
'Mac' McInnis (posted for a friend - I did not know Mike
personally). Former Navy SEAL, warrior, friend and
loving father. This is the trust fund for Mike's daughter, Sarah:
Account Name: The Sarah Michael McInnis Trust
Account Number: 3010059149
Navy Federal Credit Union
Merrifield, VA 22119-3100
Navy Federal Credit Union
Account Name: The Sarah Michael McInnis Revocable Trust Fund
Account Number: 3010059149
Routing Number: 2560-7497-4
Bullock, the owner of Buffer
Technologies lost his life in a tragic automobile accident
on 11-12-05, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. He was
a great contributor to the shooting industry and a supporter
of our men and women in the military; always making sure they
got what they needed if he had anything to do with it. He was
a kind and generous man - a genuine 'great guy'. He will be
deeply missed by all who knew him. A scholarship fund has been
set up to help his girls through school.
send contributions to Mary Wilson at Jefferson Bank of Missouri,
700 Southwest Blvd. P.O. Box 600, Jefferson City, MO 65102-9930.
The account is titled The Abby and Grace Bullock Scholarship
Fund. The account number is 0144784. Rest in Peace, Larry.
Wong - Former owner of assultvest.com and a really great
guy. Eli was KIA in Iraq 2-9-04, while serving with the Arizona
National Guard, 363rd Explosive ordnance Company (EOD). He is
survived by his wife and three children. No trust fund information
More information here