Encounter with Rolla parishioner helps bring closure to fallen firefighter’s family

A seemingly random encounter more than 1,300 miles from home allowed Dave Clifton to share a man’s last words with his family, bringing them some peace after 40 years.
“God’s timing is not the same as ours,” said Mr. Clifton, a member of St. Patrick parish in Rolla. “But everything is God-sent, and God is the real thing.”
Mr. Clifton and his wife Fran were seated in Yellowstone National Park, waiting to watch the Old Faithful geyser erupt.
As the water thundered forth, a man came up to them and said, “You two have the best seats around.”
Mr. Clifton, who grew up in St. Louis and had served as a firefighter in a suburban St. Louis fire district, noticed the St. Louis patch the man was wearing.
The man said his brother-in-law had been a firefighter near St. Louis.
They talked some more.
“The name didn’t ring a bell,” Mr. Clifton recalled. “But he said his brother-in-law died in a fire 40 years ago, when he was 28.”
Mr. Clifton immediately drew a connection.

-Catholic Missourian

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