By Andy Tarnoff Publisher Published Oct 27, 2012 at 11:50 AM

My friend (and Milwaukee's best bartender) Paul Kennedy of Tonic Tavern shared a sad story with me, and I'd like to share it with you, too.

John Pipkorn is a Mequon firefighter – a 25-year veteran who's risked his life for others – and now he needs some help. On Oct. 18, his own house caught fire, and his wife suffered serious injuries while jumping from a second story window. She's still in the hospital.

Sadly, Pipkorn's family is drastically underinsured, and has lost everything in this fire. Two of their cats died in the fire, which completely destroyed the house, while their dogs survived by hiding in a shed.

Now the Pikorn family, which has given so much to the community, needs your assistance. Obviously, money will help, but they need clothing, dog food, people food and more.

Plans are still coming together for an official benefit, which will take place on Sat., Nov. 17 at the Mequon VFW Post, but in the meantime, Paul is collecting donations of supplies at Tonic, 2335 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. If you have questions, you call e-mail Paul at or Beth Brahe at You can also call Dale Schoessow, who is setting up a relief fund, at (414) 254-0369.

Obviously, I don't know know the Pipkorn family, but I really believe that firefighters are some of the bravest, most selfless people in our community. It would be great if Milwaukee could rally around John and his family and help them out in this time of need.

Andy is the founder and co-owner of He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.

Before launching in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.

Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.