TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Nearly one year ago, two men left their homes, went to work, were called out to an apartment fire and never made it out. As the tragic anniversary gets closer, their families are still dealing with the loss of Stephen Machcinski and Jamie Dickman.
Dickman's sister Libby Cheney says Jan. 26 – the one-year anniversary – is a day her family has been dreading, but it's also a chance to put another sad milestone behind them and continue to move ahead and keep Jamie's spirit alive.
“We never had to go this long without him, without a phone call, a hug. People say it gets better with time, but it doesn't,” Cheney said.
Besides two sisters and his parents, Dickman left behind a wife and two young children: Paige and Grant. Grant was born just weeks before his father's death.
“His first words were ‘dada,'” Cheney said. “It's bittersweet, but we are thankful he got a chance to meet him before that day.”
Now the family is moving forward, creating a new beginning with a foundation to honor not only Jamie, but also Steve.
“My parents are the ones that are starting it,” Cheney said. “We wanted to make sure that we did it right and we did it the way that would honor Jamie and the way he would want it done. There has been a lot of thought and a lot of tears that have went into this.”
is a way to keep the young father and husband's legacy alive with scholarships, adopting fire houses, packing fire trucks with donations for kids, and 5Ks – and his family says that's just the beginning.
“Being able to focus our energy on that rather than him being gone might help,” Cheney said. “It's not going to take it away – nothing will fill that hole that is gone since he's been gone – but it might help lessen the pain to do something he would have wanted us to do.”
The foundation is just getting started. Cheney says a Go Fund Me page will be added to the
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