Captain Bill Dowling

Captain Bill Dowling

Captain Dowlings Story

***Now is the time to come together as a community and help one of our own! As many of you know the Houston Fire Department lost four members on May 31, in a 5-alarm motel fire. Captain William (Bill) Dowling was trapped and severely injured in the fire. Captain Dowling was in critical condition and due to his injuries both legs were amputated. Captain Dowling is a married father of 3 and he and his family are residents of the Spring area. His wife, Jacki is a PE teacher at Frank Elementary in Gleannloch. Captain Dowling also works at Champions Fire Department for his second job. 100% of the funds raised will be given directly to the Dowling family. These men and women dedicate their lives to protecting our lives and property. This is an opportunity to help others in a time of need. Any amount will be accepted and appreciated. Any donation will be a true blessing for this family. This is just the beginning of a very long and difficult battle for this family.

OPERATION OORAH! UPDATE

FROM: KENNETH REDDING (Organizer of Operation Oorah!)

Months of work has paid off. Captain Dowling and his family will attend the Marine graduation ceremony of his son. Through a multiagency coordinated effort, HFD Captain Dowling and his family will be escorted from his home in Tomball through Katy to Houston Executive Airport. If you see police, fire, or military apparatus please pause for a moment and let this hero’s convoy pass. Give a wave, give a salute, or hold a flag to let him know he has not been forgotten. We will depart this Saturday 4/19/14 Tomball at approximately 1015-30 am and should pass through Katy around 1100-15 am. Times will vary based on weather, traffic, and construction.

ANOTHER MIRACLE!! Click on the pic of Bill below

ANOTHER MIRACLE!!  Click on the pic of Bill below
Click the Pic and watch another miracle unfold!!

Latest From Jacki

Jacki:
"We are having an exciting graduation party for Forrest on May 3rd. We'd love to make it a blow out! Everyone's invited that wants to come, just make sure to join the page and and accept the invite. Todd is looking for help and volunteers, so make sure to give him a call if interested. Let's give Forrest the party of a lifetime."

Ckick the Pic below for details

Forest Dowlings Graduation Party May 3rd

Forest Dowlings Graduation Party May 3rd
Ckick on Pic for more info

Dowlings going to San Diego

Dowlings going to San Diego
Click on the pic for the story

The Latest From Jacki

April 9, 2014

Beautiful day on Lake Conroe! Thank you Julie Evans Schaferling and Jim Schaferling Jr. for having us over today. Bills Social Hour rocked!!! We are so blessed to have such great friends. Bill loves the lake, so today's therapy wS extra special.

Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe
R & R.....Rehab and Relaxation

Lake Conroe

Lake Conroe
R & R.....Rehab and Relaxation

The Latest From Jacki

April 4, 2014

Today was such a beautiful day; you can’t help but be happy! I think Bill was feeling it too, because he was the happiest I have seen him since the night before the fire. I wish I could put it in to words how great it is to see him laugh,... smile and joke around. It’s intoxicating!!! For anyone who knows Bill, pre-fire, they know that he loves to play practical jokes, mess with your head, and that he’s a kid in a man’s body. Here’s proof that Bill hasn’t changed. Today was my mom’s birthday, and she stopped by to pick me up, so we could go out and celebrate. Before she pulled up to the house, me, Bill and Theda (His rock star nurse) were cracking up laughing and being crazy. Then my mom walks in the house and comes in the bedroom to say hi to Bill. She asked me if he was taking a nap, and I was thinking,”No, we were just acting crazy”. Sure enough, his eyes were shut tighter than a drum. I knew exactly what he was doing! She walked out of the room, and I whispered in his ears, “I know your not asleep”, and a huge grin spread across his face. I told him he should be ashamed of himself for pretending to be asleep, when my mom was trying to talk to him. By this time, he had opened up his eyes and was chuckling. Then I heard her making her way back to the room, and I said she’s coming back, close your eyes. Bam! He shut his eyes and played possum. We all started laughing, including him, and he was busted. It was so funny! There are so many people that get brain injuries, and their personalities are totally altered. Bill still has his personality! We have so much to be grateful for. We have been blessed with an angel, or should I say an army of angels, since Bill was injured. Today is no exception! We now have a host for Forrest’s graduation party, and I can’t believe how fast things are unfolding. More details on that soon, but we are planning on May 3rd, so save the date!! We blew it bad when Forrest graduated from high school, and without going into details, I really want him to know that we are so proud of him. Bill get’s very emotional when we talk about Forrest. I know that he realizes now that the things we stressed out before were such a waste of time. I can’t read his mind, but I feel like maybe he wishes that his relationship with Forrest had been in a better place, before the fire. Hindsight is always 20/20, though, and all we can do is move forward and learn from the past. That being said, we love our kids with every fiber of our being, and we want Forrest to start his knew career knowing how much we love and support him. Lastly, I want to say, repeatedly, how grateful I am for the volunteers that come out and work with Bill. We wouldn’t be as far as we are right now, physically with Bill, if it weren’t for all the volunteers. It also helps give me a break to take care of things I need to do. He is getting so strong, and so muscular….I really am amazed how fast his body is bouncing back. Thank you volunteers!!!!

Daddy Daughter

Daddy Daughter
Faith and her Daddy

OPERATION OORAH!!!

OPERATION OORAH!!!
Click on the Picture to see the Channel 2 News story

CLICK ON THE PAYPAL LINK BELOW TO DONATE TO THE DOWLINGS

Please Read and Support The Dowlings Trip to See Their Son Graduate From Boot Camp!!

From: Kenneth Redding, Assistant Fire Chief of The Katy Fire Department

As many of you know, the spirit of a firefighter is fueled by the concept of “Brotherhood”. This Brotherhood spills over into our lives and consumes our friends, family and co-workers. When a member of our Brotherhood is in need we rise to the occasion at all costs to help overcome whatever task is at hand to be conquered. This special request is no different.
The horrific structure fire of May 31, 2013 which claimed the lives of four of our firefighting Brotherhood left Captain Bill Dowling of Houston Fire Department clinging to life with extensive injuries. Thus far, Captain Dowling has made a remarkable effort to fight for his life and overcome the challenges of long term rehabilitation. We have all followed his story closely and continue to honor his heroism and pray for his family.
We have recently become aware that the Dowling’s son Forrest has enlisted in the Marine Corp following in his father’s footsteps as Capt. Dowling served our country and was a Corporal upon discharge. Forrest is currently in Marine Boot Camp training in San Diego, Mike Co, 3rd Battalion. It is our strong desire to ensure that the Dowling Family is together at Forrest’s graduation slated for April 25th. What an honor it will be for this young recruit to have his family together at this special time as he prepares to serve our country. In order to facilitate the family’s needs - we need your help!
We have been in contact with Jacki Dowling, Captain Dowling’s wife, and expressed our desire to help her family achieve this goal. Jacki is ever so gracious. With Jacki’s blessing we will be working with a fellow agency as well as local media to spread the word to any and all that can assist us in this effort. While it is a big task to achieve, we believe wholeheartedly that we can pull it off – and the much deserving Dowling family will have a proper, “That’s my son – he is a UNITED STATES MARINE” graduation.
Logistics are key in this project. Captain Dowling has been given the thumbs up by his doctor to fly. He will require special accommodations in travel as well as transportation and housing once they are in San Diego. The Dowling Family members travelling are Capt. Dowling, Jacki and their two children Faith (13) and Foster (12). Bill has a private nurse that tends to him as well that will travel with him. Our wish is to allow the Family to have an effortless, relaxing vacation together one last time before Forrest deploys.
In this early planning stage, the timeline we have to work with per Jacki’s request is for the family to fly in on April 19th so they may attend the Marine Recruit Family Day on the 20th. Graduation is on the 25th and she would like to return to Houston on the 26th. However – those few days in between we would like to provide the family a much needed and well deserved mini-vacation. Jacki has researched the area and her desire is to take the family to the world famous San Diego Zoo, possibly Sea World, the Tide Pools, to tour Camp Pendleton, see Coronado Beach and in her words – just chilling and relaxing!
 
There is much work to do and timing is of utmost importance. Time to hit the planning and fundraising hard! Let’s do this! 100% of all donations and fundraising efforts will go to the Dowling Family. Donations can be made to
http://donatetodowling.blogspot.com/.
Questions, concerns, and non-monetary donations can be made to the following for the Dowling Family;
 
Laura Archibald with Firefighter Support Network
Office number is 832.394.6607
Attn: Captain Archibald
600 Jefferson 6th floor
Houston TX 77002

Foster Being Sworn In

Foster Being Sworn In

Foster is Following in His Father's Footsteps

Foster is Following in His Father's Footsteps
Bill Served our Country as a Marine

Latest From Jacki

02/14/2014
I received two wonderful, surprise, valentines gifts today. I woke up to find a sweet letter from my babies, surrounded by candy hearts. And tonight Bill, with the help of his buddies, got me a beautiful flower arrangement. I have not seen him this happy since the accident. I actually got a glimpse of the old Bill. He's in there and he's coming back! Best Valentines ever!

Latest From Jacki

02/13/2014
With the rainy, cold weather, Bill has had a tough week. Today the sun, finally, came out, and he seemed to be feeling much better. We have been really busy this week with doctors appointments and therapy, but even through the pain, he is... such a trooper. Monday, he got a bunch of Botox shots, which makes him really sore. Now, while the medicine takes effect, we are stretching, stretching, stretching him. As the medication starts doing it's job, his contracted muscles will begin to relax, and then we can get a lot accomplished, therapy wise. He is doing so good! We have some goals in place, and were are going to achieve them! I finally made a Doctors appointment for myself this week. My blood pressure is normal, but I've packed on 14 lbs. since the accident! I had just started Weight Watchers in May, and was about two weeks in when Bill got hurt. Needless to say, I was needing to lose weight to begin with. Now I need to lose even more! It's so hard, because I am a comfort eater! My plan is to eventually get back on Weight Watchers, when I can find the time to commit to it. Hmmmm, will that ever happen? Ugh! We got 3 letters, today, from Forrest. It sounds like he is really missing his family, and also starting to realize that his dads situation effects him, even when he's thousands of miles away. He told me that he's spent his whole life wanting to be in the Marine's to make his dad proud, and he really looked forward to all the trash talk his dad was going to give him, once he got to boot camp. He really longs to have that with his dad, now that he's there, and is sad that he won't be able to look forward to a letter from him. What do you say to that? Faith told me yesterday that she loves volleyball so much, and it's the only thing in her life that she looks forward to because she doesn't have her dad anymore. They were total buddies! What do you say to that? I just love them, and try my best to fill the gaps. They are all good kids, and we've had so many friends take them under their wing, and try to step in where Bill couldn't. We have a busy weekend ahead of us. Volleyball Saturday morning, retirement party Saturday night, and Ride To The Races on Sunday! http://www.dowlingride.com/about-capt.-dowling.html Hopefully, Bill will be able to tolerate being in his chair for a longer period of time. Prayers for that!!! We may have to take occasional breaks, and go lay down somewhere, but it looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. Please pray that he sleeps good tonight. We've gone a few days without much sleep, so we need tonight to be a good one.

The Boys

The Boys

Latest From Jacki

02/08/2013
Bill's therapy room is pretty much done, and he loves working out! He spends a good 4 or 5 hours a day in there building up his muscles, stretching all of his tendons and ligaments, playing games and working on the hand bike. He hates lay...ing in the bed, and is not a huge fan of sitting in his chair watching T.V. , so he moans and groans until I get up and do some kind of workout with him. (Then he's happy as a lark!) The volunteers started this week, and it has been a heaven sent. He is becoming much looser, stronger and more agile. At the beginning of the week, his rehab team wanted me to consider putting him in in-patient rehab, and by the end of the week, he was having his best workout ever! I have seen him do things that he has never done, up until this week. For example, I put a blanket on him, and he took it off and threw it on the floor. Woo hoo!!!! We are still working on the speech and swallowing, but I believe that God revealed to me, today, what was going on. I was searching the Internet, and I prayed to God to please reveal the answer about his tongue issue. The next search entry I put in, came up with, what I believe is the problem. We have been searching and searching, and bam!....God was ready to give me something to go on. Not only that, but it explained why he keeps one eye closed, as well. (I got a two for one prayer!) I am now in the process of looking for a specialist to help treat it. I am so excited about this find, and I am praying that this is God's answer to our prayers. Bill has a lot of anxiety about eating, and I want him to be able to eat again. Everything is still crazy in my life, but I have taken on Bill’s therapy as a challenge, (and as a, once, collegiate athlete), I love a challenge. Every time I work with him, I get so motivated, because he works his buns off, and it makes me want to push him harder! I told him that he is in boot camp at home, while Forrest is in boot camp in California. I believe they will both see significant changes in each other at the end of this journey. Thank you to all the volunteers who are coming to our home, giving their time, and making my man better.

Latest From Jacki

02/06/2014
I have to shout this from the roof top, this morning....."Bill slept 8 hours!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Woo hoo I forgot to mention in my last post that we got a general letter from Forrest last night. I now have his address! If you want his it, to write him a letter, just message me.

Latest From Jacki

02/06/2014
I am happy to report that Bill has had a great couple of days. We think we may have an understanding of whats going on! Monday, Bill's therapy table was installed by his, ever loyal, co-worker buds. They also hung a pair of rings above... the table. We put him on the table, to test it out, and of course he grabbed those rings and started to show off. He never ceases to amaze me! Then they put him in front of the pumper panel and gave him directives on which ones to pull, turn, etc. He did so good! I know the therapy was good for Bill, but the therapy for his friends.........it was just as important! At the end of the day, after his regular workout at TIRR and an afternoon of playing on the rings, Bill went to bed and slept 6 hours at one time. (He's been getting one to two hours at night). Tuesday was our first day of home therapy, with volunteers. He had two sessions, and he was happy, pain free and super relaxed. I think this is exactly what he needed! He is not sitting in the bed all day, he doesn't stay in the same place for long, he gets to see new faces, and he's the center of attention. What's not to love! And, again, he slept 5 1/2 hours. Yippe!!!!! Today, he went to TIRR, got a big stretch session with me in the afternoon, and then had a super tough session with Captain Collins (Ret.) I just love and appreciate the help so much. Before Bill got injured, he was "hyper" to say the least. The more pain he seems to be in, the more we think he must need to stay in bed. Wrong!!!!! Apparently, the best way to get his mind off of the pain, and to keep his little busy head happy, is to keep him active. Let's pray he goes to bed and sleeps 7+ hours tonight.See More

Latest From Jackie

12/02/2013
I know a lot of people are curious how things are going since Bill returned home, and as you may understand, I have been too busy to really get on the computer and do much. Today was the first day where I felt like I had a plan. I organized his meds. last night, and got up early to jump start the day. It was like the pre-accident days. I made the kids breakfast, persuaded them over and over t...o wake up for school, showered and got dressed. I just added Bill to that routine, and it seemed to work pretty well. The first few days home were fairly hectic. He couldn't stay long in his chair, and so it was back and forth to the bed. He didn't sleep well at night either! Last night was the first night that we slept through the night. The night before, we really didn't sleep at all. I am just a wee bit tired, but what's new. We've also had to deal with a lot of crying and weeping, and he does not like for me to leave his sight. It is beyond hard, but I'm determined to get him better and smother him in love along the way. As for my back, that's another story! He may look small, but he's solid like a rock. From lifting him, pulling him up in the bed and seat, and all the nursing, I better lose some dang weight! Emotionally, I am trying to keep it together. It's hard to see the person you love go through something like this. I know he is beyond frustrated that he can't communicate, he's lost all of his independence, etc. The weeping is the hardest. I don't know what to do to make the hurt go away. I just give him kisses and hugs. Today he started his therapy at TIRR The Woodlands. I was quite impressed, and I have a great feeling about his future there. He did very well, and came home and didn't even take a nap. We then went and watched Faith's volleyball practice tonight, and he did great. I saw a sparkle in his eyes and a smile on his face like he had before the accident. He almost looked like his old self. I can't wait to have that cutie pie back. I know it's going to come!

Bill went to his daughter Faith's practice today!

Bill went to his daughter Faith's practice today!

Bill watching Faith at Practice

Bill watching Faith at Practice

IRON BILL CAME HOME (click on the picture to view the album)

IRON BILL CAME HOME (click on the picture to view the album)
CLICK ON IMAGE FOR MORE HOMECOMING PICTURES

Latest From Jackie

11/28/2013
I was able to get a way for a few minutes to get online and tell everyone how much I appreciate the people of Houston and surrounding communities. Yesterday was the most incredible experience I have ever had. My husband was honored in a w...ay that I have never seen. I was the most perfect homecoming ever!!! Thank you so much to Bills wonderful friends and co-worker who lined the streets, and the incredible display that was set up around our house. The walk up my driveway was one that I will never forget. It gives me chills every time I think about it. Hugs and kisses to everyone!!! We are now adjusting to our new lives at home. Last night was an adventure, and I did not get much sleep. I know it will take time for him to get used to our schedule. I will have to say that it is much harder than I thought it would be, but I know it will get easier. We had a great Thanksgiving today, filled with family and love. Bill is so happy to be home, and we are so happy to have him. God has blessed us tremendously. Now it's time to plan for Christmas. Ugh! Lol!!

Latest From Jacki

11/26/2013
He's coming home!!!! Please pray for Bill, as this is going to be a very emotional time for him. He will get to see how much the community and his firefighting family loves him, and it's going to touch his heart. Thank you friends for praying vigilantly over Bill and helping to make this day possible. I'm so excited!!!!!

Latest From Jacki

11/24/2013
The anticipation is building and we are beside ourselves with excitement about Bills homecoming. I want to give a few details on the festivities. Leave hospital between 2:00 and 2:30. Our route will be from the hospital, down I-45 North, west on 2920, north on Kuykendahl. There will be firetrucks lined up on various points of the route. I believe that Jeep owners will be lined up on 2920, (anyone with more details can message me). If you have a Jeep, join in! If you want to watch the procession, find a safe spot a long the route. Get out your 4th of July flags! As much as I would love to invite everyone to our home, I am asking for only friends and family once we get to our street. We live on a cul-de-sac and it's already going to be filled with fire trucks. We are going to have a huge party soon, "Breakfast WITH Bill, and everyone is invited to that one. He just needs more time to get acclimated to being home first. I love that everyone loves Bill. I can't wait for him to see it as he rides home and sees all the wonderful people lined up to honor him. He deserves every bit of it! My Iron Bill lived up to the promise he made to me on May 31st. "Tell Jacki that I'm going to fight for her and the kids". I love that man!!

FM 93Q Country Morning Zoo Hero of the Week

11/22/2013
Our Q Morning Zoo's Hero of the Week is Captain William "Bill" Dowling from HFD 68. Nominated by Marianne Jahnke-McNeill. Capt Bill was in the May 31st fire that took the lives of four of Houston's finest firefighters. Capt Bill lost bot...h of his legs fighting that fire and is still trying to recover. The New 93Q and IW Marks salute you sir. May God Bless you and your family. Thank you to to all of our heroes, please nominate yours at www.thenew93q.com
You can donate to the Dowling family at http://donatetodowling.blogspot.com/

Latest From Jacki

11/22/2013
One thing I have learned through this experience is that most of what the doctors do is just a guessing game. What works, what doesn’t work, lets try this, no switch to that, give a little more of this, oops too much of that. It is so har...d to find the right balance. Bill is on this roller coaster of medicine trials, and it’s so frustrating. I think they are getting close, but it’s not quite right yet. On Monday, he was so wasted that I told the doctor she needs to throw on a Pink Floyd CD. So she switched that, and tried another. It did help with his tone and posturing, but now he is so lethargic. I wish that we could find the right combination, so he can be comfortable and attentive. Despite all of this, he still does everything he is asked to in therapy, even if he does it with his eyes closed. (Too cute!) (Also notice that the soul patch has been replaced with a face patch.....Bill wants to grow out his beard!) Today, after all his therapy and hyperbaric, he got a wonderful massage from a lovely lady, with a unique style of therapy. She did a technique called cupping. She used suction cups, with magnets in them, and she placed them on Bills stomach and arms. It seemed to really relax him, and I was so appreciative that she took the time to work with him. I’ve worried at times that some people may not be comfortable around Bill, much less working with their hands on his broken little body, but she did great. Again….another great example of someone in our community taking the time to love and care for my man. Now on to the best part of the story! Bill is going home on Wednesday!! I truly feel like I did before our wedding. Maybe even more excited!! It is going to be the coolest welcome home party that he has ever seen. He deserves it, and I can’t wait to be apart of it. I will give more details as the time gets closer, but it’s going to be a celebration of God’s healing. For now, we still need to pray that Bill’s health continues to be stable, that the devil will be removed from any attempts to stop the it from happening, and also pray that Bill will tolerate the trip home, as we plan to have him ride in his Captain’s seat (In the fire truck) the whole way home. It will be an emotional time for all of us, especially Bill, but we pray that it will lift his spirits up in Jesus’s name. Lastly, for the night at least, we get to move back into our home this weekend. 6 months has been a long time. I can’t wait to have my family back again. I remember our last night together like it was yesterday. Even though it was late that night, and past Bills normal bedtime, he wanted to eat dinner as a family. It really was an amazing night! I believe God gave us that night, and I believe that God will give us many more. All the glory goes to him!

Latest From Jacki

11/20/2013
I'm happy to report that Bill had a great day! Praise God for answered prayers!!!! The doctor had to ask him twice if he had belly pain, because she couldn't believe it when he said no. He also had a great speech session, which made me smile. Thank you all for praying for man!!

Latest From Jacki

11/19/2013
Please keep Bill in your prayers today. He has been complaining of abdominal pain for a few weeks now, and the doctors can not seem to find a source. In physical therapy this morning, as they went to lay him flat on a mat, his eyes flew open and he curled up like a banana. The therapist rolled him on his side, but he still didn't look right. When she put him on his back, I knew something was really wrong. He wouldn't breathe and he looked like he was choking. I grabbed him and raised him up and he was soaking wet in a cold, clammy sweat, and he started dry heaving. He was as white as the sheets. I just wish that they could figure this out. I will not be comfortable bringing him home, if he is still suffering this bad. The devil doesn't want this to happen, because it will give God to much glory. Let's bond together and give him a black eye!

Latest From Jacki

11/18/2013
The countdown is on! Tomorrow we will have only 1 week left until Iron Bill goes home. He is ready and so are we!!! This Friday will be 25 weeks in the hospital. I can honestly say that I am totally sick of that place, and I really don't care to ever spend anymore lengthy amounts of time there again. We have met a lot of wonderful people, and made many new friends, but it is time for us to move on and start a new chapter in our lives. Today was a fairly productive day. I was able to spend some time with my honey during rehab, have lunch with one of my many firefighter friends, get some things for the house (We move back in Saturday!), and spend the remainder of the evening with Bill. (I would have stayed longer tonight, but his sitter, (he has a sitter at night because he wiggles and squirms and gets all tangled up in his rails) would not stop talking to me!) I whispered, several times in Bills ear, "Help Me!" (We were trying to watch a show together....) He finally did the best he could, and pointed his finger in the air. It was so cute! She got up, though, and asked him if he needed to use the restroom. I guess it worked, so I just threw on my shoes and kissed him goodnight.

This week has been, and will continue to be, hectic. I talked with Bill tonight and explained why I am not going to be there as much this week, and he seems pretty understanding, when I explain that I am getting the house ready for him to come home. The past few days, when I talk about the move, I yell out "Hip Hip", and he finishes it with "Hooray".

That brings me to my next point. I talk a lot about Bill and I having conversations, him laughing, etc. and I want to explain what this all means. He still cannot talk much at all, swallow foods or liquids, sit up by himself, and so on. However, when I go in and visit with him, I truly do not see his physical handicaps. I was walking down the hall of the hospital today, and I saw a lady that was very disabled. I felt bad for her! I don't see that, when I see Bill. God has completely taken all that out of my view, and I just see my husband. Yes, there are times when it is made very apparent, but just for a split second, and then it's business as usual. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to do this with him, but that is not my problem. I adore every inch of him! I think he's adorable! Last night my nephew and his wife came to visit. They hadn't seen him in a long while, and we had the best time. Bill was pumping his legs up and down, and I started moving my arms with the rhythm. The kids all cracked up, and Bill got a smile on his face. I hate to think that people don't get to enjoy that part of him, because they can't get past the physical stuff.

I continue to thank God for all the great people who have prayed vigilantly for this day. I wouldn't have made it without all the prayers and support. People tell me I'm strong. I'm just being carried by all the prayers! I'm like the person at the rock concert being passed around on top of the crowd. Ha! Except it's prayers that are keeping me up. And then our miracle, Iron Bill! How can anyone deny God's hand in this. He came face to face with death so many times, I can't even count, and God pulled him out every time. And you know what, God told me that, "It is Well", after I had just been told by a doctor that he wouldn't make it through the night. I believed it when I heard it then, and I continue to believe that God will heal him completely. (Minus a leg or two). But that won't matter, because he likes cool shiny gadgets anyways, and he will get to have them as legs. Oh yeah!

Latest From Jacki

11/15/2013
It was an interesting day today.....Bill got to come home for a little over an hour. He was escorted by his PT, OT and nurse, and he was brought in an ambulance. I was able to show him all of the changes that were made to the house, and he nodded yes when I asked him if he liked them. It was surreal to see him in our house that way. When they brought him into our bedroom, a flood of emotion c...ame over me. It brought me back the the morning of May 31st. That was the last time I got to kiss my husband and tell him I love him, before our lives were forever changed. I still think I live in a state of denial. I don't know how I can get through this everyday like I do. It's weird, but I just put one foot in front of the other, and keep going. Anyways, he really did not show any emotion while he was at the house. He got to see our puppy for the first time since the fire, and he seemed happy about that. She kept kissing his mouth, and he wasn't too keen on getting the dog smooches, but I know he was happy to see her. As happy as I was to see him home, it was kind of a tease. It was like giving a starving person a tiny morsel of food, and then taking it away. I wanted him to stay so bad! As they wheeled him out of the house, he wouldn't take his eyes off me. There was nothing I could do, but tell him I loved him, and that he would be coming back soon. Either way, I got to see him and touch him and love him. It's another day that I wasn't so sure I wasn't going to get 3 to 4 months ago. I cherish everyday now! The kids have gone back to their old school, so I am here one on one with Bill. It's nice to get to spend so much time with him, but when I leave, I am totally zapped. Between pulling him up in bed, dressing him, cheering him on in rehab, bathing him and oral hygiene care, etc., I am wiped out! Who would of thought it was so much work? The count down is on now! He is coming home a week from Wednesday. Our house will be ready for move in next weekend, so we will be busy with that and getting ready for Thanksgiving. This year, when we go around the table and say what we are thankful for, I am pretty sure we will all say the same thing.

Latest From Jacki

09/25/2013
HAPPY 20TH ANNIVERSARY !!!
Today, so many wonderful people came together to make this day special for Bill and I. He, literally, was the most relaxed I've seen him in 3 weeks. He missed his facial, because he had a consult with Hyperbaric's (yippee!!), but he parti...cipated in the shave and haircut, which started him into his relaxation decent, then he got a massage, which was the icing on the cake. I can hear him snoring right now. It's music to my ears! I can honestly say that I was blown away by the royal treatment we got here in Hermann's Signature Suite. Once they got wind that it was out anniversary, they went to work making our day fabulous. When you see the pictures of our dinner, you will notice a hospital bed in the background. This all took place in Bills room! Amazing.......thanks to Suzanne in signature suites for making this day special. 20 years ago I married the love of my life. I have had several people ask me what our secret was. I truly mean it when I say our Faith was the glue. We are not perfect, we had lots of fights, and we didn't always agree on everything..... It was our Christian values that we always leaned on when things were heading south. That's the secret! Here is to many more to come

Latest From Jacki

09/24/2013
Well, tomorrow is the big day! WOD and 20th anniversary. We are in our special anniversary room for a couple of nights, and it is really amazing. Unfortunately, Bill has been really struggling with these terrible episodes that occur while he is asleep. Needless to say, he did not rest well last night or today. He ripped out 3 IV's, a colostomy bag, and numerous hospital gowns. I just hope an...d pray that by tomorrow, he will be feeling better. We have a lot of relaxing things lined up tomorrow, and all I want is for him to feel good and relax. We have facials at 10:00, thanks to the wonderful people at Beautique who have really provided me with some much needed pampering.....Pedi for me, shave and haircut for him, and then we will top it off with a massage. Please pray that he can really enjoy it, and that it will make him feel good. Another bummer is that since they have restarted his feeds, his Lipase levels are back on the rise. I was hoping we would get back to TIRR by Friday, but now I'm not so sure. They did a special Cat Scan this evening, and I just pray that they can figure this out. This is the one thing that keeps holding him back from his much needed rehab. We have also started looking in to Hyperbaric Chamber Oxygen Therapy. It's looking pretty good for him to start that while he is here at Hermann, and then he can commute for his sessions once he goes back to TIRR. Maybe this is why God brought us back here?? Who knows??? This will help with his wounds as well as healing his brain. I am looking forward to getting that started ASAP. Lastly, I went and saw a documentary tonight, starring Kirk Cameron, and it was about Why bad things happen to good people. It's called Unstoppable. He interviewed Tim Lee, who actaully came and visited Bill a few weeks ago. If you don't know who Tim Lee is, you need to look him up. I believe he has a website called Tim Lee ministry's. When Bill was young, he adored this guy! Anyways, back to the documentary. It turned out to be more of a history lesson on the bible, but it got me thinking as I was driving home. I am so grateful that this life isn't all we have to look forward to. If that were the case, Bill and so many other people would have gotten the short end of the stick. But this isn't it! Death, for believers, will be the real life. Bill will have his legs again one day, and all the scars, holes and imperfections will be gone. When I was pondering all of this, this song came on: All I know is I'm not home yet this is not where I belong take this world and give me Jesus this is not where I belong. How appropriate. Please continue to pray for Bill, and our kids and extended family. Also prayers for one of Forrests past teachers who just got diagnosed with cancer.

Latest From Jacki

09/04/2013
Bill seems to be stabilizing, praise The Lord. This has all been such a strange and mysterious illness. There really is no infection, after all, and even though his labs show pancreatitis, his CT shows no inflammation. I feel like God is about to do something huge in Bills recovery. Just a feeling I have???He finally woke up today, after being asleep since Saturday night. I asked him to smile and he did. What an amazing feeling! He was only awake a few minutes, but it was long enough to re-energize me. I spent the evening helping Foster with English. Would you believe that I FaceTime'd my English teacher from high school and she helped Foster with his paper!?!? How great is that? I am so glad that Bill had a better day.

Latest From Jacki

09/02/2013
Sometimes I feel like a hamster on a wheel. We are just running in circles. I hoped we would be so much further along after 3 months, but we are still sitting at his bedside watching his numbers on the monitor. I haven't lost faith, like so many have assumed. My faith is that I trust in God's plan for Bill and that it is out of my control. If I didn't believe that God was sovereign then, yes, I would have lost faith a long time ago. Our life here on earth is short, and Bill and I have had a great, 20+ years together. (And I plan on having 50 more great years.) If this life is where I thought it all ended, I would be depressed as all get out! I would be mad because I was slighted my fair amount of time with my husband. But it's what comes after this life that really matters. Eternity is a long time, and i'd rather have that for Bill, than anything this life has to offer. He will be healed one day, whether it's here in this life or when he goes to be with the Lord. My job is to be by his side, love him, encourage him and pray for God's will for him and our family.Since being readmitted to Herman on Saturday, Bill has had lots of tests and blood work done. He was given two units of blood today, (that is why it is so important to donate), and they believe they have found the source of infection. His numbers for pancreatitis are going down, which means things are getting better. He looked so much better today than he has looked in a while. I was so happy to see his face looking full and pink, and he was sleeping so peacefully. The kids go back to school tomorrow, and we will get back to our regular schedule.I have been trying to get some rest this weekend, and I am trying to stay positive. I am so blessed to get to see my husband everyday, and give him sugars. That is a blessing! Anything else will be a wonderful bonus.

Latest From Jacki

08/30/2013

Bill had a better day today. He was very sleepy from the medicine he needed yesterday to calm him down. I'm praying for a good restful weekend, so he can kick booty in therapy on Monday.

Latest From Jacki

08/29/2013
Bills episodes have returned. It was horrible to see him struggling so much. I thought those were a thing of the past, but apparently something has triggered the attacks, and they are back in full force. I can't even describe how hard it is to go through this process. Today was one of those days where I truly felt like I couldn't take anymore. I feel do freaking helpless! It's like a nightm...are, but you don't get the luxury of waking up! I just want it to get a little easier. Maybe I am just too hard on myself. I don't know, but today was exhausting, and frankly, I am glad it's over. I said I wasn't going to complain yesterday, but I got a lot of encouragement to let it out. Please pray for a brighter tomorrow.

Latest From Jacki

08/28/13
I don't want to complain, so I won't, but if I did need to complain, I wouldn't. Does that even make sense? I catch myself wanting to gripe about things all the time. Then I think about Bill, and what he is going through. My gripes are nothing compared to the mountain he is climbing right now! He works so hard in therapy, even when he is so tired he can't keep his eyes open. The little thing...s that we don't think about, the things we take for granite.......those are huge for him. Two days ago, on his own, he sat up for 5 seconds. Today he did it for over a minute! If he keeps going at this pace, there's no telling what he will be able to do. He had is trach capped yesterday, and he is having a little trouble exhaling when he tries to talk. He wants to push the air out of his stoma, instead of his mouth. Or, he just holds his breath, which isn't good. This constant desire to talk, while holding his breath, is extremely tiring. It's a battle that he has been fighting for two days. He has done a fabulous job swallowing, and he even ate some ice cream. He is well on his way to real food. He needs it too, because he has gotten so skinny. We need to fatten him up! The kids are finally settled in to school. We are neck deep in after school activities and homework. Foster had his first game today. He had a blast! It was so hot, I can't imagine being in all that gear on a day like today. I am trying to come up with a system that works for all of us. I can't believe that we are behind on the second week of school, but that's my life! Hopefully we can get caught up, and stay on track from now on. Today is the one week anniversary of moving to TIRR. We still have a long way to go, and lots of prayers that need to be said. Please pray for Bills brain to heal 100%, wounds heal and stay protected against infection, kidneys to function properly, breathing and talking to become a non-issue, pain and posturing to be eliminated. Thank you all for sticking with me for so long. Prayers are what keep me going. If I didn't have such a great group of prayer warriors, I would be a complete wreck. Thank you so much!See More

Latest from Jacki

I believe that my interview must have reached more people than I can imagine, and they must have stopped and said a small prayer for Bill, because he had one of the best days ever! He looked like a normal guy laying in a hospital bed. He is getting stronger, his burns are almost healed, he's talking more, and he is getting better and better with his motor skills. The best part though......he i...s being transferred to TIRR!! Here comes the Dowling's rehab...be ready to be wowed! My man is fighting for his life back, and he's going to get it. I told him today, we are ready to "pump you up". (If your in your 20's or less, you won't understand that.) On top of that, Foster loves his new school! Blessings, blessings, and more blessings. We should be in our new place by the end of the week. We will miss the wonderful nursing staff at Herman, which we have gotten so close too after 80 plus days. They are amazing people and we love them all. We pray for a smooth transition this week. I know they will love Bill's work ethics, and once he gets back to his old self, they can expect some pranks as well. (It's a fireman thing!) Keep the prayers coming. Thank you all.See More

Latest From Jacki

07/22/2013

Just an update, that Bill has just gotten out of surgery. They were able to turn him on his stomach, and cover all the burns on his backside and back of legs. These are areas that tend to not take grafts as well. Please pray that these grafts will take quickly and miraculously!

The Latest From Jacki

July 16, 2013

Bill was at battle today! He fought with his body all day long. I decided to record how many episodes he had. 51 in a one hour period!! His episodes are scary to watch, and no one really knows why he is doing it. It looks similar to a seizure, but he seems to be aware of whats going on, to some degree. I saw 3 separate doctors today, and they all had there own theory on what he was doing. (I thought that was kind of interesting) When I was watching him, I just kept thinking of child birth. It's a painful experience, but once it's over, your presented with a brand new baby. The joy of the birth makes you forget about all of the pain and suffering you did to get to that point. I wonder if Bill is going through something similar? Hopefully, he won't remember any of the pain and suffering, and he will be presented with a brand new life. (At least that is what keeps coming to my mind when I see him having one of those episodes) I can't ima...gine going through something like that for days, and I asked God to please take them away. At about 8:15, his heart rate went down, his breathing slowed down, the episodes stopped and he finally fell asleep. It was like a weight had been lifted off of, not just him, but me too! I put down my pen and notebook, where I was documenting his every move, and finally left him alone to sleep. I checked back at 10:30, and he was still sleeping like a baby. The nurse gave me a thumbs up, and told me his fever had dropped! Yay!! Prayers for today: 1. Eliminate the infection that is somewhere in his body 2. Continue to tolerate feeds. (Which was much better today thanks to prayers 3. No More episodes 4. Kidneys to kick back in. (He did well on his dialysis today thanks to prayers. 5. Guidance for the doctors. 6. My kids ability to deal with all of this. I am always blessed by the kind words of encouragement from others. Thank you and goodnight!


The Latest From Jacki

July 14, 2013

I need inspiration today! I can’t wrap my mind around the madness of this situation. I am trying to stay positive, and let me tell you…..the devil wants to take that and throw it out the 8th floor window. I appreciate all the positive encouragement and words, but I am human, and to see my husband so sick and not b...e able to help him….it’s beyond words. I sat with Bill for a few hours today, and he looked as though he was in labor, but couldn’t ask for an epidura because he can’t talk. He literally looks like a very ill, 80 year old man. I wish that I could do something to make this better for him. It so hard to take a turn back, after last week was so amazing! Totally confused???? I have had a lot of people ask me for specific prayer needs, so today I am going to send a small list. Prayers are needed for:
1. Bill’s mental state
2. Bill to tolerate dialysis
3. Bill to absorb the tube feeds
4. Grafts to take
5. Renewed strength for his weak body
6. His family
7. Mr Palmer’s burns

I always like to end on something positive, and this is what I know. God is going to make something great out of this. I don’t know what it will be, but he will get the glory, no matter what. I truly believe that Bill will be fully healed, but I know that he would be willing to sacrifice a quick healing or even his life, if it means sharing God’s love to others. This bible verse could not be more appropriate to describe Bills desires: John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. Each day I get more and more friend requests. The longer this takes, the more people that get to see, no matter how bad the circumstances are, you can always count on, not only God’s love, but of all the love from other believers. I have been covered in prayer from people that I don’t even know. My brothers and sisters in Christ have continued to lift me up, send me words of encouragement, rally around me, and so much more. Between the amazing brotherhood of firefighters, the wonderful people of faith, and friends and family……..I have no choice but to say I am blessed.

Latest From Jackie

July 9, 2013

Too tired to write a whole lot tonight. I am beginning to really miss my family today. My kids are spread out all over the place, and my husband can't talk. As much as I appreciate all the visitors, I am really lonely for my kids and husband. When it was the 5 of us, we were so good. I know we have a long road ahead of us, and I have some big decisions to make, so I pray for God to give me wisdom and guidance. I was talking to Bill's nurse today and I think he was sensing my sadness, because he came over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. It was so sweet, and it really made me feel better. These nurses have become family members to us, and they are incredible at their job. I have nothing bad to say about the staff here at Herman. Hugs and kisses to my family for all of the hard work and support they've put into taking care of me, the kids and Bill. I know that there are times that I'm not a lot of fun to be around, and they put up with me. (Is it possible to get on your own nerves, because I am pretty sure that I've been getting on my nerves here lately) Have a blessed day and night. Thank you for loving us and praying for our family. My husband is doing better everyday, and I know, 100%, that it is because of prayers and faith. I am working on making a list of all the miracles that have happened in the past 38 days. If you have any to share, please send them to me. I want to be able to sit down with him one day, and read all the amazing things that God has done.

Latest From Jackie

July 8, 2013

Bill seems to have gotten his days and nights mixed up. The past two nights that I've gone to say good night, he is wide awake. His sweet nurse finally had to tell him to go to sleep because he wanted to keep working out his arms. I can see that determined look on his face, and he is determined to get his arms moving. He is on his way to recovery, and it's such an incredible feeling. I took ...the liberty of taking a nap today when it was pouring down rain. It was much needed. In the afternoon, my friend Kevin (aka, Doc) came to check on us, and I realized how desperately I need to get out. Being the creative P.E. teacher that I am, (Not really) I suggested we try to throw a ball and make it stick on the bottom of his coke bottle. It escalated from there and by the end, the coke bottle had no bottom, and we were trying to juggle. Yes, it doesn't make sense to me either! Another day filled with blessings. As bad as the situation might seem, I still can't help but be happy that we still have Bill around to love on. I can be joyful or I can be bitter about what has happened. It's a choice, and I choose joy! Thank you for all the prayers and support. I have gotten so many beautiful encouraging scriptures, uplifting stories, prayers. It has all made a difference!!

The Latest From Jacki

July 4th, 2013

It’s a sad day when you walk, maybe, a quarter of a mile to the hotel, and your calves are sore. This is just ridiculous! I’ve got to get out more! Lot’s of good things today, despite my sad physical shape. We had the best day we have had yet, with Bill. It’s funny, because we have been trying to tell the nursing staff about some of the things Bill has done, but in their line of work, proof is in the pudding. Well open your mouth, cause here comes the Jello!! We got it on video today!! He did so much stuff, that it made me tired! He was tracking with his eyes, puckered for a kiss, and he smiled when I asked him too! He smiled!! Everyone was thrilled! His surgery today went very good. They completed the grafts on his right leg. (Woo hoo, before long, he will be getting fitted for his prosthetic) I did find out today, that a few weekends ago, his heart stopped during the night. I was, of course, surprised, but I don’t think God ...wanted me to know at the time. As strong as I may seem, I went through some really fragile days. God was protecting me, because I may have folded if I’d known. Amazing part about it was that as the nurse was running to call a code and begin compressions, his heart kicked back in! All I could think about was all the prayers that have been going out for Bill, 24/7. That’s what came to my mind!I have never been much of a Facebook blogger, so I find it outside my comfort zone to be posting so much. Many people have written me and shared how much comfort they’ve gotten from my journals. This is all God! I repeat….I teach P.E. I get so blessed every time someone shares their story of survival, renewed faith, decisions to turn a frown upside down, and many other amazing things. If God can work through me, he can work through anyone. (And that is saying a lot, because I am just an average, everyday person.)

The Latest from Jacki

06/25/2013


Early surgery tomorrow, so I am going to sleep early. It was a super busy day, with lots of visitors. I appreciate everyone for all there support and love. Bill slept all day, like most days. (He's resting up for his grafts tomorrow.) Pray for a quick healing, kidneys and lungs. Good night!

The Latest From Jacki

06/24/2013

Today has been a really good day for us. Bill responded to me for the first time in over 2 weeks. The nurse witnessed it too, so I’m not dreaming it up. She suctioned out his lungs, which woke him right up. His eyes were wide open, so I went for it. I asked him to stick out his tongue, and he did!! He did it one more time for me, before he fell back asleep. I was jumping up and down with ex...citement. God is so good! I can’t say it enough! Doubt has no place here. His body is healing well, and the skin grafts have all taken. Yipee!!! Please pray for a successful graft on Wednesday and Friday, as well as the extraction of his breathing tube. We are all praying that he will not need a tracheotomy, and that his lungs will be able to function without assistance.



Latest Update from Jacki

06/11/2013
I was told when we first got here, that we would have ups and downs. That this is a marathon, not a sprint. Bill had been doing so good this week, I kind of thought we would be the exception to the rule. Unfortunately, they were right. ...He had a very rough day yesterday, along with an even worse night. His scheduled surgery, for skin grafts this morning, was changed. His blood pressure plummeted last night, so they went back in to look for the problem. More dead muscle and tissue!!! Poor thing.....it feels like we went back to square one. I have been worried and upset all day, but my family has been such a blessing to me, and helped me work through it. God knows these things, though, and he provided us all with a way to take our minds off of his illness for a while. We had a wonderful young man come to visit us today. I have to say that I was quite impressed with his kindness, compassion, down to earthiness, and humble spirit. It was a special time for me and my family, and I want to keep the majority of it private, but all I can say is Wow! What an angel sent from heaven! Thank you Darren Ott for taking the time to arrange such a wonderful event. My kids were on cloud 9, and they will remember this the rest of their lives. This young man is all that people have said and morel!!!! The love for my husband continues to spill out. I know I say it everyday, but the generosity of his fellow firefighters, friends and community is overwhelming. I am so appreciative of it all! I hope everyone has arranged to give blood too! Bill went through another 2 pints tonight, and is also receiving plasma. When I looked at the bag, I just felt so blessed that someone took the time out of their busy lives, to donate their plasma, (which takes a lot longer than giving blood). What seems like such a small sacrifice, has saved my husbands life! Thank you, whoever you are, your a life saver! Thank you for your prayers and support. We could not have made it this far without it. Please continue to lift Bill up in prayer. I pray for no more blood pressure drops, working kidneys and getting rid of the breathing tube.See More

Local News Article

Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2013 3:18 pm Updated: 4:14 pm, Thu Jun 6, 2013. NW Harris County firefighter injured in deadly blaze in critical condition.

Staff ReportHouston Community NewspapersA member of the Klein community was directly impacted by the deadly fire that took the lives of four brave Houston firefighters Friday.Houston Fire Department Captain William Dowling was one of 14 severely injured in the deadliest blaze in the Houston Fire Department's history. He has been in a medically induced coma since the accident and is listed in critical but stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in the Medical Center. As a result of his injuries, both of his legs had to be partially amputated.HFD received the call shortly after noon on Friday, May 31 for a fire in a restaurant at the Southwest Inn hotel off Highway 59 in southwest Houston. Dowling's unit was the second on scene.According to reports, the heavy, tile roof collapsed on Dowling, trapping him. Despite his injuries, Dowling was able to hit his mayday button, alerting others to his location and resulting in his rescue. Dowling has been with the Houston Fire Department for 13 years. He has worked at Stations 12, 19, was an EO (driver) at 25, transferred to 48 as a Captain, and started at 68 as a Captain in January. He was also a part time employee at Champions Emergency Services District 29.Dowling and his wife Jacki have three children and are graduates of Klein Oak High School."I am overwhelmed by the men and women of the Houston Fire Department, and their commitment to my husband and my family," wrote Jacki Dowling in a statement. Jacki is a PE teacher at Frank Elementary

The Dowlings Special Visitor

The Dowlings Special Visitor

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Latest from Jacki Dowling

Latest update from Jacki Dowling:

Today will be the first night since Thursday, May 30th, that I have slept in a bed. I was given doctor's orders that I had to go to the hotel and get a good night's sleep. He told me that he was going to check with my "Jacki sitter" to make sure I obeyed. Lol! Love my little doctor friend! We have had someone stay with Bill and me at the hospital, 24 hours a day,... 7 days a week since the accident. It's been such a blessing to have these guys watch over us.

Today is the first day I feel good enough to leave Bill and sleep at the hotel. He is truly a miracle! I know I say that all the time, but I just want to shout it to the roof tops!! This man has been in hell, sat there for 15 to 20 minutes pinned under a table with his legs crushed and on fire, and never panicked or complained. When he got out of hell, he talks about his family and his crew. No crying, whining, wreathing in pain........just talking. Who does that?!?

Today I was able to take a shower in one of the showers near Bill. When I got dressed, I wanted to peek in on him in his room. He was very distressed. I dropped my things and threw on the gown and gloves. His eyes were wide open, and I could see complete fear in his eyes. I told him to look at me, and he slowly moved his eyes my way. I did all I could to calm him down and talk to him, rub his heads, and get him relaxed. They were shaving him, and cleaning some of his burns. It really upset him. The nurse gave him some medicine, and he finally relaxed. Turns out, he is starting to feel the pain. He had several episodes like this, and was quite feisty with the nurse. Everyone tells me that him "feeling" is a good thing, so as long as they can manage the pain, then I am happy.

Many of you may have seen some of the news reports on TV. We decided that God has blessed us because he has answered our prayers, and we want to glorify him publicly. Sadly, we saw a news article today written by a man who doesn't share our faith. He wrote a really nasty article about how if God was real, and prayer really worked, then he would grow Bill's legs back. It was heartbreaking. I realize that not everyone shares our Faith, and that is his opinion (which he is entitled to)...but to take the time to write an article about my husband and what a joke it is that we believe prayer has done anything for him. I will have to say, it was beyond comprehension. All I have to say to that guy is, "Get a life!"

Please continue to pray for Bill's kidneys, pain, and skin graphs. We have a long road ahead of us but I'm going to try and think positive.

1 comment:

  1. Jacki, you and the family keep the faith, and know that there are prayer warriors believing and in agreement in prayer for you all. I serve a Awesome Powerful, Almighty God. He can and will do all he wants to. Know this what the devil tried to steal away, God will turn it all around and bless you double for your trouble. He's God almighty and he not through with Bill yet. Chin up and head held high for God is an Awesome God.
    In our prayers daily,
    The Richardaon's
    15 silver parents

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