May 6, 2005
Today is Ed Early's last day at the Charlottesville Fire Department, at least for now. On Sunday the Army Reservist will leave for training before heading overseas in August.
"I'm just ready to go to get the clock started so my time will start running," said Early.
With 16 years under his belt as a city firefighter, Early has made many friends along the way. In fact, they were the first to learn he was leaving. It was a feeling all too familiar for Quentin King who just recently got back from Iraq.
"Just when one of us comes back, somebody else has to go, and I pretty much told him what everyone else told me, and what I learned from experiences over there," said King.
Early said he'll be ready despite what happens, but preparing himself hasn't been easy.
"I guess the biggest thing when it hit me, is when you had to do your will and your power of attorney, it's kind of like reading your own obituary while your still living," he said.
His fire station pals hope that's something they'll never have to think about. Friday, just moments after sharing laughs, their mood changed as they somberly shared their good-byes.
"We just hope and pray that the situation over there is resolved soon so that he and many others can come home," said Charlottesville Battalion Chief Peter Carpenter.