To the editor:
It is at times like these that we ask ourselves why?
Why would God take Mike Smith, a young man with three young boys? Why would God take a man who meant so much to so many — a man who embodied the spirit of the human hero, a man who saved lives?
Some would say God needed Mike Smith in heaven more than he was needed here on earth, although, I tend to doubt it. Others would say that the Lord puts us on earth to accomplish a finite amount of good deeds and Mike accomplished those deeds way ahead of his time. That I do not doubt.
Some just throw up their hands and say, it makes no sense or it's not fair. In essence, our search for answers leaves us empty-handed.
What we do know is that a hero was taken from us. Mike Smith ran into burning buildings, jumped into freezing water, and braved all other manner of brutal conditions to save the lives of victims in harm's way. We lost one of our finest.
Many a Christmas Eve ago, Mike was playing superheroes with his young nephew Elijah (now 17) at our family gathering and Elijah dubbed Mike "Batman." This drew a laugh that Christmas Eve, and each time thereafter, when I saw Mike, I referred to him as "Batman." Mike always met that nickname with a smile, but it took some growing up for me to understand the true breadth of such a nickname.
Batman, the cartoon superhero, saved lives. He put himself in harm's way for the innocent people of Gotham City. Mike "Batman" Smith put himself in harm's way for the innocent people of Gloucester and the surrounding Cape Ann communities.
I can remember vividly when his name appeared in the Gloucester Times the morning after a terrible tragedy, noting that it was Gloucester firefighter Mike Smith who saved the life of the victim.
Mike Smith was a great role model for the youth of Cape Ann and, more importantly, a great father to his three young boys. He did so much for so many, and I now call on the people of Cape Ann, in Mike's memory, to do something for someone else.
Let us follow Mike's lead and sacrifice our time, money, convenience, and even our lives in service to those in need.