Seventeen Years and One Day ago
During my career I lost more Brothers than I am prepared to count. I lived my life surrounded by strong men who did courageous and dangerous things. This is the story of one of them.
Richard Roost was know as the SCUBA God and he was the owner of the local dive shop. He was there from the beginning of my dive training. Richard was knowledgeable and committed to the Sheriff’s Underwater Search and Rescue Team (USRT).
Richard wasn’t an employee of the department but rather donated his time as a Reserve Deputy Sheriff. He taught me to be a better diver and I would advance to Divemaster under his direction.
Richard was a man’s man. He traveled to many exotic places and was always surrounded by beautiful women. Many wanted to be him. He had a quiet absurdness and I always enjoyed his company. During dive team call-outs he was a calming influence. He worked to keep me safe and shared his strength and confidence with me in my most stressful moments.
We had been through the Shit together.
On July 8th 1998 Richard was diving alone on the wreck of the Andrea Doria at a depth of 240 feet when he went missing. No one is sure what happened but days later his body would be discovered in the Cabin Class lounge wedged under a table.
Just before the trip Richard said, “When I dive the Doria my life will be complete.”
Richard dove from the Seeker but it was fast becoming known by another name, the Morgue boat. Sixteen divers had lost their lives while diving the Andrea Doria and some while diving from the same boat.
I stood Honor Guard over my Brother’s body in the old Church his family had attended since the days of his Grandfather. Colored light and dusty smells mixed next to his heavy oak casket. Richard was buried in his family’s plot in a small cemetery in Hillsdale County. I stood at rigid attention as they lowered my Brother into the ground. My jaw clenched, fighting back the hot stinging tears. I grabbed a fistful of dirt and threw it in the hole as I said my goodbyes and made my promises.
I salute and walked away into the grayness.
© 2015, Michael Fulcher. All rights reserved.