One of the most important things I have learned in life is our ability to touch another person by our words, our writings or for just being who we are. I have also learned that we should be grateful and appreciative of the actions of another person when they reach out to us in a special way. I have been very fortunate in my life to have a loving wife and a wonderful son and a very memorable and happy childhood with loving parents and 2 wonderful sisters. I feel I am very lucky and I always like to speak from my heart and relate stories that affect me and provide me the opportunity of sharing with others in a distant way and express myself in a safe way and speak how I feel. I have had many positive and happy experiences in my life along with some sad and painful experiences. One specific experience I wrote about in my blog was a day that started out as any other day for my parents when I was a baby as portrayed in the book “The Bridge” written by the famous author Gay Talese. The story I referred to in my writing was contained in a chapter of Talese’s book titled “Death on the bridge”. In the chapter Talese centers around 2 men. Their names are Edward D. Iannielli Jr, my father and Gerard McKee, a fellow ironworker. In the story he writes about both men and what their early experiences were like and how they became ironworkers.
On that fateful day my dad was briefly talking with Gerard before they went about their business on the bridge and as soon as they started their work day within minutes my dad heard Gerard’s cries for help. As he turned in his direction he reached out and was doing all he could to grab a hold of Gerard but he had weight working against him as Gerard was a taller man and my dad had a damaged hand. My dad pleaded for God’s help as he felt his grip of Gerard slipping and it was in that instant he could not hold on any longer and felt Gerard slip through his hands and watched him fall to the water below. He had no chance and if it wasn’t for the quick actions of Lloyd LeClaire, a native American Indian who jumped on top of my dad and held him tight to the catwalk he would have went over as well. Lloyd was a hero and he saved my dad’s life.
When I read about this in the book and spoke to my dad about it I always asked him about Lloyd LeClaire and if he kept in touch. I always felt deeply touched by his actions and wanted to shake his hand, hug him and tell him how thankful we were for his heroism in saving my dad’s life. When I spoke about Lloyd I wanted to express my appreciation and felt this was my way of thanking him.
I always feel that we need to express things in our life and it helps us and makes us stronger. I felt the need to write about this sad day and felt for the McKee family and was very thankful to the LeClaire family. What I did not expect from writing about this was a wonderful series of writings from Lloyd’s grandson who reached out to me about the story. I expressed to him when I wrote back how truly appreciative we were for having our dad for as long as we did and that was because of Lloyd LeClaire’s quick actions that sad and tragic day. We were blessed and my dad had an angel looking over him and protecting him.
It is with heartfelt gratitude that I dedicate this story to the memories of all three men:
Edward D. Iannielli Jr and
That was a day that changed the lives of all three men forever.
Edward D. Iannielli III