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Fabian (left), Damon Shaw and Pete McConnell prior to an expedition in 2004. Photo courtesy of Pete McConnell.
LINK: StormTrack forum: Chaser comments
LINK: Remembering Fabian blog
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LINK: Lakeview Funeral Home memorial page
LINK: Newspaper Article
(I'm bringing this post back to the top today to coincide with Fabian's memorial service in Chicago this evening. A special thanks to those who have shared comments so far.)
I lost one of my good observer friends on Saturday, June 6. Fabian Guerra, of Chicago, lost his life in a car accident in Iowa on his way to meet up with friends prior to a weekend of storm observing. According to the Iowa State Patrol, the accident was caused by a deer that ran out in front of him on I-80. The news of course comes as a shock to me, as Fabian was one of my friends and regular chase partners. Fabian was out observing for the right reasons - a deep, sincere love for storms and a desire to learn more. A geniune person I was priveleged to know.
I have a bad habit of not taking enough photos of the people I travel with - something I regret. I went through my archives and found these photos and brief video clips of Fabian from 2004 and 2005. He is recognizeable in these images with his black Skywarn cap or blue Chicago Cubs ball cap.
VIDEO: Video clips of Fabian
A few of my storm observing stories that Fabian was a part of:
- The first time I met Fabian in person was one of the funnier stories I have in my observing travels. We had agreed to share rooms at the 2004 Storm Chaser Convention in Denver with Pete McConnell and Ron Remeirsma. I had a layover at Chicago Midway airport on the way there, and decided to give Fabian a call to finalize where we were going to meet up in Denver. I was sitting in the waiting area at the gate for my flight when I called him. After a couple of minutes of conversation, I said "Well, I'm here at Midway getting ready to get on the plane, so I'll see you in Denver". He said, "I'm at Midway now too". I said "Really? What gate?" We both look up and Fabian is literally sitting right across from me at the gate 10 feet away, looking right at me, he'd been there all along and neither of us realized it. Everyone around us at the gate saw it got a laugh out of that.
- Fabian, Craig Maire and I witnessed the Greensburg EF5 tornado together, hands-down the most significant tornado event I have ever been a part of. The three of us started and ended the day in Pratt, Craig and Fabian in one vehicle and me in my car. Later in the evening, after our south-central Kansas target looked to be a bust, we decided to try to intercept the Arnett tornadic storm in Oklahoma, which was a long drive away. Somewhere along the line we got separated, and they hung back in Kansas while I continued on to intercept the Oklahoma storm (I caught it in Mooreland after it was done tornadoing). The Greensburg storm had just developed, so I turned back north to catch it. I re-joined Fabian and Craig in the damage path of the Greensburg tornado, with the sights, sounds and smells of fresh tornado damage all around, the Greensburg tornado fading in the precip to the north, and new tornadoes forming to our northeast in the darkness.
- I was with Fabian, along with Pete McConnell and Damon Shaw, when he saw his first tornado in Hadar, Nebraska on May 21, 2004 (the first photo above was taken on this day). That was part of an extended weather expedition the four of us had as a group (with both busts and great intercepts), with a lot of great memories.
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