Skip to main content

All people die. Few, however, get the opportunity to die a hero's death. This morning, my friend passed away during the commission of a brave act of unselfishness. Radisson Dana would have turned 28 later this week. Instead, he died alongside his father early this morning in a fire that engulfed the family's home.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Radisson Dana was a rare find. He was a good friend, a willing jokester, and a dedicated brother. Just more than five years ago, he lost one of his triplet brothers to a tragic fall at the same home that just burned down. Since then, my friend has calmly and dutifully moved on, never forgetting his fallen brother, but not letting the tragedy derail his life, either. When we were kids, Radisson and I played golf nearly every day of the summer. He was a good player and has remained one into his 20s. In August, I played one final round of golf with Radisson. We spent a couple of hours recalling the mishaps of our youth and talked about everything from work to school to family.

His father was a well-known journalist in our area. Dwight Dana maintained a newspaper column in which he wrote about a wide array of topics. He studied journalism at the University of South Carolina and was known for a jovial brand of prose that was littered with self-aware aggrandizement. He lived in a Victorian-style home nearly 110 years old. If you went there, you might smell the aged wood, read a decade-old newspaper, or have a cold drink. Gregarious and outgoing, Dwight Dana was a friend to most. In his column, he often referred to himself as the "columnist" - a third-person nod meant to acknowledge the absurdity of some of his subjects.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

In one of his last columns, the columnist told the story of a spoon that had been used to break into a cigarette machine. He wrote:

A burglar somehow managed to swim through the moat that used to surround Joe’s after a heavy rain. He broke in the back door, but found no cash onboard. He then eyed the cigarette machine that hadn’t worked since the late 1960s.

He used the spoon to break into the cigarette machine. The spoon, which looked like a pretzel after the deed was done, died a hero’s death.

With the sort of irony that only a journalist like Dwight Dana could appreciate, his column offered a sort of foreshadowing for what happened earlier this morning. At around 2 AM, his son died a hero's death, overcome by smoke and heat in a desperate attempt to save his father.

According to reports from officials on the scene, Radisson Dana returned to his father's home shortly after 2 AM, only to see the house replaced by a fiery inferno. The home's old wood had produced something of a kindling effect, and the fire burned quickly. My friend called 9-1-1 but refused to wait. With Dwight in the home and the clock ticking, my friend entered the home in a desperate attempt to rescue his father. Firefighters on the scene found the bodies in a hallway toward the back of the home. My friend had pulled his father from the bedroom where he slept and the two made their way toward the exit. Officials speculated that Radisson may have carried his father's body a few yards before the pair collapsed under the intense heat and debilitating smoke. A few feet from the door, my friend and the columnist died in a home that would later burn to the ground.

Before his brother's death, the bravest thing I saw Radisson Dana do was cut the corner on a long par-5. But he had been an Eagle Scout in his youth and had graduated from The Citadel military college a few years later. In the years following his brother's death, he had displayed a wealth of human courage. When put to the ultimate test, he laid down his own life in a noble attempt to save his dad. Today, my friend is gone, but the legacy of his death will carry on. He died a hero's death that almost certainly would have prompted adulation in his father's next column.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

kos, Sharoney, buddhistMonkey, Sylv, jo fish, Marek, hazey, filkertom, hester, lapin, hyperbolic pants explosion, teacherken, Nate in IA, Maudlin, misscee, TrueBlueMajority, NYmom, OtherDoug, Minnesota Deb, kpardue, cotterperson, SanJoseLady, meg, hyperstation, Jay C, Oracle2021, eeff, rubyr, xynz, Sandy on Signal, SallyCat, Matilda, wenchacha, exNYinTX, Creosote, regis, RubDMC, nicki37, concernedamerican, bronte17, TracieLynn, sponson, CanadaGoose, cskendrick, Pithy Cherub, themank, farmerhunt, oneworld, retLT, CodeTalker, MazeDancer, poe, jalbert, Bill Roberts, fumie, KCBearcat, CocoaLove, hopeful, sidnora, celticshel, revsue, Texknight, ammaloy, khughes1963, VexingEyes, edrie, psnyder, mwk, TexDem, NYC Sophia, pat bunny, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, MA Liberal, gerrilea, lobdillj, NYFM, DSC on the Plateau, Steven Payne, annetteboardman, raster44, Liberaljentaps, riverlover, Sophie Amrain, exlrrp, zett, zerelda, auron renouille, randallt, lonespark, NapaJulie, Emmy, Twilight Jack, eve, AaronBa, Josiah Bartlett, oortdust, weelzup, sb, historys mysteries, Bluesee, marina, radarlady, subtropolis, Independent Musings, Chinton, chimene, OpherGopher, offred, Alice Venturi, BCO gal, ccasas, Omir the Storyteller, basquebob, Kdoug, Tod, owlbear1, dansk47, SaraBeth, Pam from Calif, Sun Tzu, GreyHawk, ladybug53, Ice Blue, blue jersey mom, markdd, Yamara, kaliope, AnotherMassachusettsLiberal, petestern, wbr, Blu Gal in DE, FindingMyVoice, Joes Steven, turdraker, bunsk, peacestpete, Ekaterin, zozie, fhcec, noweasels, xaxnar, Jim R, begone, alrdouglas, Born in NOLA, Audio Guy, martini, third Party please, Shirl In Idaho, highfive, myboo, keeplaughing, Clytemnestra, dharmafarmer, BeadLady, Themistoclea, tonyahky, seefleur, Dvalkure, kestrel9000, ruleoflaw, Below the Beltway, KenBee, fiddler crabby, NBBooks, need pr, SadieSue, CTLiberal, Pilgrim X, justiceputnam, llbear, SingerInTheChoir, BlueMississippi, lazybum, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, suspiciousmind, Texdude50, Stripe, miss karen, nannyboz, kurious, Bernie68, nhox42, blueintheface, ms badger, Little, Quicklund, AndrewOG, cpresley, Thinking Fella, One Pissed Off Liberal, Sapere aude, FoundingFatherDAR, john07801, marykk, timewarp, BeninSC, bvljac, Cat Whisperer, tgypsy, camlbacker, weneedahero, possum, moodyinsavannah, devis1, ColoTim, gloriana, VClib, threegoal, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, LillithMc, operculum, terabytes, mommyof3, newpioneer, second gen, gfre, mdcalifornia, bobswern, jnhobbs, jhop7, gchaucer2, hopi13, OIL GUY, Wreck Smurfy, yella dawg, uciguy30, The Pollster, janatallow, the1sage, Empower Ink, Mighty Ike, JDWolverton, MKinTN, ExPat Zuzzguzz, revm3up, jack 1966, Scioto, also mom of 5, JaxDem, greenalley, hulagirl, TheFatLadySings, Chacounne, amyzex, Marko the Werelynx, ScottyUrb, OleHippieChick, mamamedusa, Sixty Something, Senor Unoball, Involuntary Exile, Fiona West, NewDealer, bythesea, smrichmond, skohayes, lineatus, Morgan Sandlin, jakebob, mikeconwell, rssrai, tofumagoo, royce, dewley notid, Missys Brother, alnep, liquidman, Gemina13, petulans, elpacifico66, hanaleisurf, nokkonwud, msdobie, emidesu, Bongobanger, suesue, HarpboyAK, binkycat, Nica24, sagansong, Ellinorianne, billybam, dmhlt 66, immigradvocate, toom, watercarrier4diogenes, shortgirl, lissablack, CIndyCasella, woodtick, Old Woman, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, maggiejean, J M F, emboyo, nchristine, jtraynor, Ohiodem1, earicicle, CamillesDad1, GreenMtnState, virginwoolf, leavingthezoo, elziax, MKSinSA, Jupiter Wilson, papahaha, MooseHB, Denise Oliver Velez, Keith Pickering, sfarkash, jfromga, nancat357, spicecakes69, hamsisu, Reason to believe, cassandraX, hotdamn, Laurilei, Vacationland, gramofsam1, politik, Observerinvancouver, on board 47, JoanMar, batchick, pixxer, elginblt, PvtJarHead, Patate, Maverick80229, ericlewis0, Otteray Scribe, Oh Mary Oh, fiercefilms, whatever66, EyeStreetMom, ciganka, no way lack of brain, Onomastic, annieli, Jasel, yellow cosmic seed, kerflooey, Bluefin, zooecium, ban nock, slowbutsure, vahana, cooper888, Cintimcmomma, La Gitane, OldGrammy, BlueJessamine, FarWestGirl, lexalou, kevin k, Nicci August, lillyspad, SoCaliana, KelleyRN2, RyanHarvey, mrsgoo, sethtriggs, thomask, dle2GA, KVoimakas, jhb90277, LSmith, wintergreen8694, RMForbes, corvaire, CorinaR, chira2, sound of progress, VTCC73, teknohed, blue aardvark, jolux, SoCalSal, SteelerGrrl, rscopes, RLMiller, Mentatmark, Apost8, Rashaverak, Mathazar, YaNevaNo, jacey, stormicats, Liberal Granny, anodnhajo, sow hat, DeanNC, Siri, IndieGuy, SilverWillow, David54, joanil, tb92, draa, 2thanks, FloridaSNMOM, deanarms, cherie clark, mapamp, peachcreek, JupiterSurf, kat herder, doroma, parakeet, Margd, avsp, arizonablue, dotdash2u, Kayjay, mumtaznepal, Robynhood too, left rev, CalBearMom, tn mountain girl, Hammerhand, The Geogre, Stills, Sue B, Lizabet, allensl, MarkW53, Lily O Lady, John Crapper, MishaBrewer, DamselleFly, Dallas L, countwebb, delilah 52, JayRaye, glorificus, LucyGoose, SanFernandoValleyMom, dear occupant, broths, motherlu, aresea, alice kleeman, Alhambra, boudi08, RiveroftheWest, helpImdrowning, GrannyRedBird, ApatheticNoMore1966, Pritty Brains, Mike Kahlow, Blazehawkins, blue91, Expat Okie, tampaedski, pragmaticidealist, SC Lib, JustGiaco, Cyberwizard, sparkysgal, Catkin, Brian1066, grubber, leaf63, Marcellus Shale, MethuenProgressive, The Marti, Shygar, CA wildwoman, Dr Coulardeau, marykmusic, stitchingasfastasIcan, Chairman2013

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site