"From the time Greg was a little kid, he wanted to be in law enforcement and he ended up the best of the best." - Alex Felde, former town of Brookfield fire chief, on Greg Rahoi.
FBI agent remembered as intense, dedicated and professional
Town of Brookfield firefighters recall their late colleague
TOWN OF BROOKFIELD - When Jim Gaulke joined the Town of Brookfield Fire Department in 1993 and met Greg Rahoi, the two didnít exactly hit it off.
"We didnít get along at first because weíre both intense individuals," Gaulke said Friday of Rahoi. "But as time went on, we got to be good friends. I learned a lot from Greg."
Gaulke and his fellow Town of Brookfield firefighters learned of Rahoiís death Thursday. Rahoi, 38, a supervisory special agent with the FBI's hostage rescue team, was accidentally shot and killed during live-fire training exercises on an army base in Fredericksburg, Va.
Rahoi joined the FBI in April 1997 and served with the hostage team for the past six years.
"I was just looking for his phone number the other day to give him a call," Gaulke said, pausing with emotion. "We tried to get together last Christmas but he was busy. He was going to Afghanistan with the FBI after the holidays last year. I remember telling him to be careful and to come back safe and that weíd get together this Christmas instead."
"I canít believe heís gone," Gaulke said.
"If ever there was someone you could really say they died doing what they loved, it would be Greg," said Tim Meyer, a town of Brookfield firefighter. "He was so excited to be part of the FBI."
Meyer said Rahoi started with the department in 1991 and worked his way through the ranks to become a lieutenant before he left about five years later to join the Madison Police Department.
"He was very intelligent. He had a law degree and a degree in criminal justice," Gaulke said. "I knew him for several years before I found out about his law degree. He just never bragged."
Even after being hired by the FBI and relocating to Virginia, whenever Rahoi was in the area visiting family, he made a point of stopping in at the station to see his firefighting family, Gaulke said.
Alex Felde, former town of Brookfield fire chief, said he remembers the day an FBI agent showed up at the station.
"He interviewed me as part of the background check on Greg when he applied for the FBI," Felde said. "The agent asked me if I thought Greg would be dedicated in serving his country. I told him that they would have a hard time finding someone who would do so with as much passion and professionalism as Greg."
"From the time Greg was a little kid, he wanted to be in law enforcement and he ended up the best of the best," he said.
"He never gave 100 percent. With Greg, it was 200 percent all the time," Meyer said. "He excelled at whatever he did."
A plaque still hangs on the station house wall with Rahoiís name on it, honoring him for being the first firefighter to use the departmentís defibrillator unit successfully in the field.
Linda McAlpine can be reached at email@example.com