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Kitchener motorcycle crash victim remembered as 'charismatic, caring'
KITCHENER -- Steven Rabak is being remembered by family and friends as a caring, compassionate and charismatic young man.
The 27-year-old paramedic with the Region of Waterloo and firefighter in Mississauga died in a motorcycle crash in Kitchener last weekend.
The memorial at the intersection of Ottawa Street North and Dreger Avenue where Rabak died continues to grow.
Rabak’s best friend, Donny Runstedler, says he’s grateful he was able to see his friend in the hospital just before he died.
“I'm just very thankful that he fought so hard so I could be with him in the end,” says Runstedler.
The two had been best friends since high school.
“He would just invite himself over, he'd have some dinner, we played Rock Band. We did that throughout pretty much all high school,” says Runstedler.
Runstedler says Rabak always wanted to be a firefighter just like his father.
“His dad would bring home the gear and he got to see all that, and he loved it, and he got to see the trucks and sit in them when he was a kid,” he says.
Rabak followed his passion after graduating high school and landed his dream job with Mississauga fire in 2016.
“He was the first guy to check in his gear, he was the first guy to get up and clean bathrooms. It didn't matter how menial the task was,” says Capt. Chris Ogg with Mississauga Fire Station 106.
“If I asked him to do a job, it got done.”
Ogg was Rabak's captain over the last two years and says he excelled at responding to medical calls.
“His care and his compassion towards those patients was second to none,” explains Ogg.
Wanting to also become a paramedic, Rabak turned to Runstedler for help.
“We'd go over medical questions, we'd go over what interviews were gonna look like,” says Runstedler.
After he graduated from Conestoga College's paramedic program, he was hired by the region.
“When he finally got hired, he called me and he was so pumped he was going to work with his buddies, a couple other friends that we work with in Waterloo,” says Runstedler.
“I don't even know how to tell you the feeling at the time, I was like, ‘I’m going to get to work with my best friend, this is the coolest thing ever.’”
Rabak also had a love of travelling and sports, particularly hockey and golf.
“I used to golf with him all the time. He'd call me up. I'd work a night shift and we'd sleep a couple hours then go out just the two of us,” says Runstedler.
“He was a huge Boston Bruins fan,” adds Ogg.
But, no matter what activity he was taking part in, Rabak was known to sport a smile and a positive attitude.
“He just had this charisma and smile all the time, he always had this smile,” says Runstedler.
“We're going to miss his laugh,” says Ogg.