Once in a while someone comes into your life that makes such a tremendous impact that your life is forever changed. I was lucky enough to have met that person. Captain Michael “Mouse” Burgan came into my life just 2 years and some odd months ago. While some may say that is all, for me that short time frame will have a forever impact on how I will live the rest of my life. His accomplishments are numerous so many that I will not try to list them all, but his most important were father, brother, son, fiancee and most importantly, for me, was friend. No matter the day, no matter the hour if he was needed he was there. Mouse was only one phone call away and everyone knew it. Mouse also loved to laugh, and his laugh was infectious usually bringing the whole room to tears laughing right along with him. And yet when the time came and work needed to be done he would become Mr. Serious, until the work was done. He had a life that gave him more then his fair share of hardship, such as becoming a single father at a young age, a role that he undertook and perfected. And because of these hardships as one would expect he developed a rough and tough exterior. But underneath he was a caring and compassionate man. This was a side however he did not let onto readily and he was very guarded as to who he showed it too. Mouse did find true love again, and no matter how hard he tried to keep up the facade of roughness around the “guys”, we could tell. The look in his eyes was different, and the smile on his face was bigger. Along with that love came a whole new addition to his family, and he gave them the same unwaivering faithfulness that he gave to the rest of his family. In the last few days I was blessed to be able to hear stories that showed just how great his love was, and how far it went. All was becoming right in the world for Mouse so much so that they became engaged three weeks ago.
Mouse was a full time volunteer firefighter who also held a part time job as a farmer. I don’t know how many times he would sit at the station and elude to his farming duties that he was supposed to do until the pager went off. And he was fine with that. For his true joy in life was helping others in their most dire time of need. And as a result he aimed to be the best he could be in the fire service. Which is why I feel he was the logical choice for Captain in the Chief’s eyes. As an officer he was meticulous in his thinking, and logistical in his actions. He never over evaluated a situation nor did he ever under evaluate either. He always knew just what to do and when to do it. As a fire department we valued his leadership and looked to him for guidance when things got rough. Mouse taught me my first lesson on scene safety as a newbie EMT, always know where the bull is hiding before running like a hero into the barn.
Mouse never did things halfway, it was all the way or don’t do it all. He lived his life to the fullest and knew how to the make most out of every minute of his life. Tragically his life was cut short at 46 years young. And while I mourn the loss of such a wonderful man, I also celebrate because I know that he passed away having lived the fulfilled life that he wanted. And I am grateful that I was able to be apart of that life for the 2 years and 9 months I knew him. And my only hope is that I can take the great examples he set and incorporate them into my life. Captain Michael “Mouse” Burgan I bid you farewell for now, and I thank you for all the memories.