Saved from fire, he grew into a fighter

T he night of the fire was like last night, or tonight, bitter cold, with smoke and flame, icicles forming on the faces of exhausted firefighters, frightened families spilling out into a Chicago winter. Full Story
DenMotherCFD

AOL

#1 Dec 7, 2007
What a great article! Comes out after
the nice one on the Watroba memorial.
But, Rick is quite a nice guy and one
who really loves his job. He knows his
job like the back of his hand and does
it very, very well. Thank you for the
great article!
Clutch Cargo

River Grove, IL

#2 Dec 7, 2007
Firefighters... The last, true, American Heroes!
Linda

Chicago, IL

#3 Dec 7, 2007
This story made my week! How cool.
How about

Chicago, IL

#4 Dec 7, 2007
Putting this great story on the front page?

A local boy who's family came to America seeking freedom..Saved by a hero and then becomes one?

How about it trib? Enough with that J-E-R-K off Peterson.
Pat Hickey

Elk Grove Village, IL

#5 Dec 7, 2007
John Kass once again proves that journalism can and should make a difference.
The difference between John Milton and Kathleen Falsani is talent and hard work.
The difference between John Kass and his peers is immeasurable.
People who give back to life are real news. Wel done again, Mr. Kass!
Tina

Evanston, IL

#6 Dec 7, 2007
Lt. Vega is a "regular" at the retail establishment where I work near his firehouse. He is one of the kindest, most humble and gracious people I have met. My colleagues and I are always happy to see him when he comes in, and he always takes a moment to ask how we are doing, etc. I just had no idea of the "backstory" of this wonderful gentleman; what an honor to have him in the neighborhood!
Deke

Ashburn, VA

#7 Dec 7, 2007
Awesome story. It's nice to read something good every once in awhile.
Wayne

United States

#8 Dec 7, 2007
GREAT article. It's unfortunate good stories like this don't surface often enough. They are out there, but the media typically doesn't go after them.
KASS_RULES

Chicago, IL

#9 Dec 7, 2007
Great Story John!

Thanks!

Enjoy your weekend!
Brava

United States

#10 Dec 7, 2007
What a wonderful human insight column about Chicago Fire Lt. Rick Vega and the man who saved him as a young boy, firefighter Eddie Groya. Firefighters are the unsung heroes in the City. Quite often they face incredible danger to protect the public and perform their jobs admirably.

As a child I recall that we were taken to the firehouses on field trips. I was always amazed by the firetrucks and wanted to try sliding down the poles in the two story fire house we visited.

Thank you Mr. Kass for writing this article for all of the decent people who work for the City of Chicago.
Lauren McTigue

Gardner, IL

#11 Dec 7, 2007
Fabulous article! It is so great to hear stories about the everyday "Joes" being heroes and making a difference in Chicago. It is the cops, fireman, city workers, teachers....those are the people that make such a huge impact in our city. As you said once in a fine article "in the city that works, we might remind ourselves what lubricates the machinery that runs it, those little guys who get ground up". That is what makes this city so amazing.
w haney

United States

#12 Dec 7, 2007
I always read Kass. I used to be irritated at his animosity towards Richie but He can write and I came to understand eventually that he is a conservative. A worthy successor to Royko.
Made me smile

Arlington Heights, IL

#13 Dec 7, 2007
My dad was assigned to that firehouse at the time when this happened, and Eddie Groya was one of his best friends. No doubt they both worked that same fire. I remember how he would come home from work, smelling of smoke and all dirty and tired. The fireman back then faced obstacles that were unbelievable, but went to work every day. Thanks for a great article!
Dwana

United States

#14 Dec 7, 2007
Rick Vega is an amazing man, honored to have him as a friend, he is the most humble human being I have ever met, Thanks for the great story and a gentle reminder not to take life for granted.
John M

United States

#15 Dec 7, 2007
Every day someone helps you even though you may not notice. These people are the bedrock of our society, not the scum that make the news. It is rare for them to get the recognition they all deserve. Well Done John.
Consumer Maven

Plainfield, IL

#16 Dec 7, 2007
Wow John, I wish there were more out there like you! Thank you so much for recognizing the service that our firefighters and police and do, day in and day out, to serve the public. Thanks for putting a human face on it all, so that the many can see what the few are truly like, as decent human beings who do what they can to help keep the city safe and working.
Tina

Darien, IL

#17 Dec 8, 2007
I work in the burn unit of a local hospital. Obviously we get the victims of these house fires after the firemen risk thier lives going in to save them. What amazes me is that each time a fireman stops by or calls to check on someone they have rescued they shower us doctors and nurses with so many compliments, and tell us constantly how we are the ones who are saving the persons life. Many have told me personally they could never do the job I do. I just want to remind them I would have no job to do without thier selflessness and bravery. In order for me to be able to treat a burn injury a fireman somewhere risked his own life to get that victim to us. You are all heros and I thank God for you.
Michigan Resident

Normal, IL

#18 Dec 8, 2007
As the Father of two fire fighters in southwest Michigan, your article brought tears to my eyes. Growing up in Chicago I remember the Our Lady of Angels Fire and a gigantic bowling alley fire in the late 1950's on either Clark or Lincoln. My Dad took us to watch as the firefighters battled the cold as well as the fire. The winter images of the icicles hanging from fire hats, and a pumper truck covered with ice, stuck in my mind forever. Hats off to the true heroes of our society. Thanks for this heart warming article.
marv356

Chicago, IL

#19 Dec 9, 2007
great story
Amy Bardis

Alpharetta, GA

#20 Nov 17, 2012
Wow!!! I still keep up with Chicago news AND I DVR WGN from where I live in Georgia. I knew Rick Vega many years ago, he is a great guy. God bless the brave fireman who rescued little Rick in 1963. All firemen should be held in the highest respect and paid highly for putting their lives in danger to save us!

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