Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Mark Moynihan: A brother-in-beer passes away.

There are heroes in our brewing world, many of whom many of us will never know. But, behind the scenes, these unheralded folk do great work creating and bringing us our beers.

And sometimes they do more —much more— than that.

Around 10:00am on Friday, April 10 2009, Mark D. Moynihan was preparing to do a welding job inside a brewery vat at Calhoun's in Knoxville. While inside the vat he told others he was having a hard time breathing in the confined space. Someone opened a valve to pump oxygen into the cooler for him, and when Mark sparked the torch, it immediately exploded. Mark was able to climb out of the 18 inch opening where others extinguished the flames.

Mark was transported to UT Medical Center in Knoxville, where he was initiallyMark Moynihan assessed and the determination was made to transport him immediately to the burn unit at Vanderbilt Medical Center. Due to severe weather, the medical helicopters were grounded and he had to be transported via ambulance. During transit, there were severe thunderstorms and 6 tornadoes touched down in the path from Knoxville to Nashville. He arrived at Vanderbilt around 2:30pm CST, with family members arriving from various directions shortly after.

Dr Guy assessed Mark upon arrival and began him on hydrotherapy preparing him for surgery. He met with us at that time and gave us the report none of us were prepared to hear. Mark has third degree burns on 98% of his body.


After fighting what must have been an excruciatingly painful battle, Mark Moynihan —homebrewer and good beer partisan— passed away yesterday, 23 June 2009.

I never knew Mark personally, but I came to know him through the wonderful, loving blog his brother-in-law wrote. My condolences to Mark's family, and to all who knew this courageous man. All of us have a lost a brother-in-beer.

Read more at Mark's Marathon.

This can be a cautionary tale. Governmental safety watchdogs and their regulations —as officious and burdensome as they may occasionally be— exist to forestall tragedy.

7 comments:

  1. It always hits a little closer to home when it happens to someone who shares the same passions in life, even if you didn't know them personally. Very sad, indeed. But you're right about the purpose of government watchdogs, which is part of what I do in my "day job." Currently, we're working to implement safety measures in confined spaces for this exact reason.

    A similar tragedy occurred here in the Shenandoah Valley not too long ago regarding spent grain and a confined space.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a tragedy. Having grown up 30 mins from Knoxville, and visiting my parents there two or three times a year, this breaks my heart. My thoughts are with all of his family and friends.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Awful story. I'm just now browsing through the blog his brother-in-law set up, reading the previous updates. Ugh. So sad. Gotta just pray for his friends and family now.

    ReplyDelete
  4. JOEY HOLDER6/24/09, 1:46 PM

    I WENT TO SCHOOL WITH MARK AND HAVE BEEN WATCHING HIS BLOG EVERY DAY TO SEE HIS PROGRESS AND WAS VERY SAD TO HEAR OF HIS PASSING. I ALWAYS LIKED MARK ALTHOUGH WE GREW APART THRU THE YEARS AND WAS GOING TO GO AND SEE HIM AND THE FAMILY THIS WEEKEND AS I HAVE TO TAKE MY FATHER TO VANDERBUILT GOD BLESS MARK AND HIS FAMILY OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Safely Home
    by Unknown

    I am home in Heaven, dear ones;
    Oh, so happy and so bright!
    There is perfect joy and beauty
    In this everlasting light.

    All the pain and grief is over,
    Every restless tossing passed;
    I am now at peace forever,
    Safely home in Heaven at last.

    Did you wonder I so calmly
    Trod the valley of the shade?
    Oh! but Jesus' arm to lean on,
    Could I have one doubt or dread?

    Then you must not grieve so sorely,
    For I love you dearly still;
    Try to look beyond earth's shadows,
    Pray to trust our Father's Will.

    There is work still waiting for you,
    So you must not idly stand;
    Do it now, while life remaineth--
    You shall rest in Jesus' land.

    When that work is all completed,
    He will gently call you Home;
    Oh, the rapture of that meeting,
    Oh, the joy to see you come!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Mark was the best brother a sister could ever ask for. His family and friends will miss him terribly. Life will never be the same. RIP dear little brother. Save a place for me!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I worked with Mark for several weeks, on one job. He was a great guy, and loved to smile and have fun. He was always upbeat and fun to be around. I hope others will learn from the mistakes made here, in his memory. Oxygen is very dangerous. They should have immediately pulled him from this tank when he mentioned he was having troubles breating. Confined spaces are nothing to be taken lightly.

    Goodbye Mark. I'll drink a beer for you, and remember the times we had together.

    ReplyDelete

Comment here ...