Yesterday CJE celebrated our dear friend Eric Barrow on his birthday. Eric was a firefighter, 9/11 first responder and a protective parent. Eric participated in CJE’s Family Court Crisis: Surviving A Broken System photo exhibit and shared his story about the 7 years he spent in family court fighting to protect his son, which can be read here.
In honor of Eric’s birthday, Eileen King, executive director of Child Justice, Inc. and another dear friend of CJE, shared her moving story about knowing Eric:
“Today is Eric Barrow’s birthday. I first met Eric in Family Court where he was doing his best to protect his son. I won’t post details but will only say that he had good reason to be concerned. Eric was a firefighter, a member of the Washington DC Foam Unit that covered the White House. His unit put out the fire in the Pentagon roof on Sept. 11, 2001.
A year later, September 11, 2002, we were outside the courthouse after a not particularly good hearing. Eric told me that his Foam Unit was at the Pentagon being honored for their incredible work putting out the Pentagon roof fire. Instead of being with his team being honored for their heroism, here he was in Family Court, feeling helpless, unable to protect his son.
He told me about going into the Pentagon and removing bodies that day and what they found. Horrified, I asked him how he could bear doing this work? He replied that he was trained to do the most difficult things, that this belonged to his profession of fire-fighting, but what really brought him to his knees was not being able to protect his young son.
I’m happy to say that several years later, the allegedly abusive party went away and out of this son’s life…and his son flourished. I have letters from Eric telling me of his success in school and in athletics as well as their close father/son bond.
There are so many unsung heroes walking amongst us, who have walked amongst us. Eric passed away from a heart attack in March 2013 in the arms of his son, now a young man, who he fought to protect.
You can see Eric’s photo and quote on the Center for Judicial Excellence website here:
There are many helpers, some visible, some invisible…but never-the-less there. they haven’t forgotten us – and we shall never forget them.”
Child Justice, Inc.