Since his death, the Ladybug has become a symbol of Ronnie to his family members, friends, and fellow Coasties because it has appeared to us on many, many occasions - often during the most difficult times. There are so many stories, we've decided to publish them here.
Ronnie insisted that he drive his car to Anchorage...
by Ron Gill Sr.
November 14, 2008
On September 11, 2001, Ronnie called me to tell me that there was a tragic accident in New York. A plane had crashed into one of the buildings at the World Trade Center. A few minutes later, he called again. I will never forget his words, “Dad, we are being attacked!" It was because of the attack of 9/11 that Ronnie decided he needed to do more for his country. He told Rosemary he wanted to join the Coast Guard and eventually he did. He was first a Reservist, but an opportunity arose that would allow him to be a Reservist on active duty. Ironically the unit he would be assigned to was MSST (Maritime Safety and Security Team) 91111 which was formed specifically because of 9/11. His assignment would take him to Anchorage. Alaska.
Ronnie insisted that he drive his car to Anchorage, Rosemary and I thought differently. He won. We Lost. We asked him to drive only during the day and to rest at night. It was a 4,500 mile, 9-day journey and as always, we wanted him to be safe. I told him that we would pay his cell phone bill for the month so he could talk to whoever he wanted to during his trip. At one point during the trip he lost all contact. No radio, no cell phone, tired of all the CD’s, in the middle of nowhere. All of a sudden a Ladybug landed on his windshield. This ladybug would become a symbol for all of us after Ronnie’s tragic death.
He talked to the Ladybug for half an hour before she flew away. When the Ladybug was gone, Ronnie’s phone service was back on. He called us crying and told us the story about the Ladybug. Since his death, this ladybug has appeared to us, his friends, family members and fellow Coasties on many, many occasions; actually so many that it would take forever to tell you about them. Click here for more about Ronnie from Ron Gill, Sr.
Ronnie knew San Francisco was my favorite city...
by Rosemary Gill
January 26, 2009
Almost exactly one year ago today, Ron and I went to San Francisco for a visit to see some old friends and to see some of our Coast Guard family. On Sunday we went to Treasure Island which is where the CG brass live, and where some of their boats are docked. It was also a Patriots playoff game and we were invited over to Doug's (the Captain) house for the game.
At halftime Doug suggested that we go down to see Admiral Wurster whose home was on the lower portion of the island. Treasure Island is in the middle of the San Francisco Bay and the Bay Bridge between Oakland and San Francisco meet at this point. Ron said that we would never make it back before the half started, so he stayed, we went.
On the way back to the house I stopped to pick up a eucalyptus bark that was on the walkway. Inside the bark was a Ladybug. Even in San Francisco (which Ronnie knew was my favorite city) Ronnie let me know he was with us. [click here to see a picture of that ladybug]
Ronnie, help me straighten myself out...
by Jonathan Gill
January 25, 2009
When I first moved to Utah, I played golf a lot because the courses out here are amazing. I recall one particular Saturday morning. I was playing at Bountiful Ridge golf course. As usual, I started off the round lousy and was getting extremely frustrated.
By about the 9th hole I was thinking about calling it a day and cutting my losses. I took a deep breath, looked up to the sky and said "Ronnie, help me straighten myself out."
I guess he heard me, because I teed off on a par 3 and my ball landed a few feet from the cup. With a big smile on my face I approached my ball to putt for birdie, and sitting next to my ball was a ladybug. I still have the pictures of where my ball landed and the ladybug on my cell phone. [view picture]
It happened on our trip to Key West...
by Uncle Tommy and Auntie Debbie
January 26, 2009
It happened on our trip to Key West. We were at the pool and talking about Little Ronnie and the tears just came. We sat there sharing our special memories of times with Ronnie and I looked at Tommy. On his shoulder was the lady bug. As I told Tommy, it was then that it left him and flew to me landing on my knee where it stayed for a few seconds and then off it went.
We both felt such comfort as if Ronnie wanted us to know he is ok and will always be with us no matter where we are . How very true as Ronnie lives on in so many ,in the hearts of all the ones he touched during his short life.
I believe in fate...
by BM2 Heather Hammond
February 14, 2009
I believe in fate too thats why I feel compeled to share this with you. I am also a Coastie just celebrating 12 years. Previously a reservist myself and a native New Yorker. I joined the guard as a reservist. Due to 911 I also was recalled to Title 10.
I am currently aboard my Station on Thurs Feb 12. 2009. I was walking from the training petty officers office into the first class office when on the door frame was a ladybug, which I thought was odd. It is Florida but its been in the 30's and 40's recently. I opened my email the following day and a shipmate had forwarded an email about your son. Complelled to read it, I was intrested in ordering the braclets. I then went on to close email and continued on with work day but something told me to forward the email home to read more about your story.
Here it is Saturday afternoon and I opened my email at home to read more about your son and couldn't understand why there where bug like things on the braclett. I then went on to read the highlighted lady bugs, and I couldn't believe it. Even though I hadn't read the email till the next day, the irony of seeing a ladybug 12 hours prior blew me away. Please know that thoughts of you all are in my prayers.
BM2 Heather Hammond, Sta Mayport.
I first heard the story in 2006 during a trip to Alaska...
by Emilio Del Vecchio
February 18, 2009
I first heard the lady bug story in 2006 during a business trip to Alaska. I had just landed and I was exhausted from a long plane ride from Boston. Suddenly I heard someone yelling, "Mr. Del Vecchio!"
It was Ronnie, who was also at the airport. He said, “I don’t want to hear that you're tired, we are going out.”
Just like his dad, he was very persuasive... 6 Heinekens later, I heard the lady bug story. We had some laughs that night and I'll never forget what he did for me and how much class and respect Ronnie had. I will never forget that night...
In the summer of 2007, my 8 year old son Derek began going to the driving range with me. By early summer he wanted me to take him golfing, so Ron Sr and I made plans to play a round at Exeter with his son Jonathan and my son Derek. Derek and I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to drive down from Boston for a 6:15 a.m. tee-time.
We all had a blast! I could not believe I was out there playing golf with my son and one of my closest friends. On the 18th hole, Ron mentioned that he was going by the cemetery to see Ronnie and asked if I wanted to come. I told him probably not because Derek was tired form waking up so early and playing golf all day. But, when we got in the car, Derek said that he was not tired and that we could go by and see Ronnie.
When we pulled up, Ron Sr and Jonathan were already there. Derek and I walked up to them and Ron was very emotional. Suddenly my son walked up next to Ron and put his arm around his back and told him he was sorry about what happened to his son. I never felt so many mixed emotions. At the same time I was so proud of Derek and yet so sad to see Ron and Jonathan hurting so badly. I did not cry.
I got in my truck and pulled out of the cemetery and within minutes I began crying my eyes out. I called Ron and I told him how much that day meant to me. Ever since my son was born I wanted to have a day like that but there was one thing that was missing, and that was Ronnie.
Suddenly as Ron and I were talking, a lady bug landed on his hand. Jonathan snapped a picture on his cell phone and sent it to me. Even though Ronnie wasn't physically there playing golf with us, I know he was looking down on us and is with us all of the time.
Red Spotted Angels on the Cape
by Barbara Dardeen
March 27, 2009
I have collected a few Ladybug stories since I have met the Gill family, but the one that stands out the most was from the Cape.
Last summer, Richie and I went to the Cape to do some night fishing and he wanted to walk the jeddi to look for a good spot. I was very reluctant to go fishing off the jeddi because that meant that we would have to walk the jeddi back in the dark. This scared me. A whole lot!! As we got further and further towards the tip of the jeddi, the sun began to go down and the more the sunlight faded, the more my nerves were on edge with the thought of walking those wet, slimy rocks in the dark. I actually began to talk to my Creator asking him to get me off those rocks and back on the beach.
As I was at the height of my panic (I didn't let on to Richie just how nervous I was because after all, I'm a tough chick lol) and I was walking about fifteen feet behind my man, a swarm of hundreds, I mean HUNDREDS of ladybugs wrapped around me. I smiled and yelled to Richie to turn around and when he did, all he could say was "HOLY ***T". They were all around me and only me. And the funny thing was that a few minutes before all this, I had a conversation with Richie about Ron and Rosemary.
Well seconds into my tournado of Ronnie's little red friends, one landed on the tip of my thumb and when I looked at it, my hand was in the" thumbs up" position. There she was, sittin on the top of my thumb. Of all the hundreds of them, just that one landed. It was incredible. I took out my cell and snapped a picutre of it. I guess it was there to tell me it was okay to be scared and to let Richie know. So, I broke down my shield and let him know I wanted to go back and fish off the beach.
I never had the opportunity to meet Ronnie, but meeting his famliy and friends gives me an insight to Ronnie and has blessed me with the opportunity to turn to Ronnie in my heart from time to time. I guess Ronnie found his way to my heart (or so I tell myself) that night because I felt a fear on those rocks I hadn't felt before. I use do be a daredevil till a few years ago when old age and common sense took over my body. I would have never felt scared doing something like that before.
We started walking back towards the beach and after jumping about twenty rocks, the curtain of friends were gone. About five minutes after hittin the beach, it was pitch black out. The moon lit the sky and reflected off the calm waters. We didn't catch a thing that night and sat on the beach through two bouts of down pouring rain till about 11pm and I had one of the best nights of my time with Richie.
Timing. It's a strange thing. I had horrible timing when it comes to Ronnie. We can wonder forever what makes terrible things happen. The unfortunate and horrible timing of Ronnie's death was also the fortunate timing of me being appointed the Help on the Homefront Coordinator for the Patriot Guard Riders and put me in the position of contacting Ron Sr. for the sponsorship of the first golf tournament. I met with the family before the tournament and there was an instant bond that I will never question and always treasure. I was told about the Ladybug Stories and have since aquired quite a few of my own. But this one stands out far beyond the other little ones. I called Ron and told him and Rosemary the story and when this portion of the site went up, Ron insisted I tell the rest of you. So there it is.
I will never go anywhere and not think of the Gill family when I see one of those little red, black spotted angels. Trust me when I tell you, if you ever meet the family and know of the story, you will start to see ladybugs at the ODDEST times, no matter how many you have seen in the past, you will see them when you are deep in thought about something. It's all about the timing.
Thank You Ron
by Nichole Fortenberry
April 7, 2009
Last weekend we lost our beloved dog, Kashwitna, who originally hails from Anchorage, but moved to Kauai with us and then on to Las Vegas. I'm not sure whether Ron ever met Kash, but I know his beautiful wife Ambur loved Kash and Kash knew Ambur's family well when he lived in Alaska.
Ambur and Ron are so very dear to my heart and I love them both. Kash passed away this weekend from bone cancer. Our loss is still painful and we have huge holes in our hearts which were once filled with our big joyful, floppy-eared boy.
The day after we let him go, I was in my backyard crying something fierce. I missed my "baby" so much, and felt like my heart was being ripped out. So there I stood watering my garden and crying big wet tears when something caught my eye in the dirt/sand about 10 feet to the right of me that appeared to glisten in the sun. I walked over to investigate, and to my surprise, I saw a beautiful ladybug all by himself (herself?). It looked rather out of place as ladybugs are not really indigenous to the desert.
Well, I must say that I immediately knew that this was Ron's way of comforting me after the loss of my companion of seven years. I gently picked up the ladybug and placed it on a leaf of my lemon tree and smiled. I think it was the first time I felt myself smile in weeks. Thank you, Ron -- your gift was something special and truly did help to heal my sorrow. I miss you! Nichole.
Thank you for bringing meaning to my ladybugs
by Bruce Thomas
April 26, 2009
Today, myself and several members of MSST Boston 91110 attended the 1st annual motorcycle run in Ronnie's memory. Before today, I knew nothing about the ladybug until we were told to read the meaning behind them. When I arrived home and logged on I was overcome with many emotions as I too had a ladybug story that meant nothing until today...
I was one of the Honor Guard members in Seattle who received the honor of sending home a fallen brother. All honor guard details are emotional but none more than Ronnie's. Although I did not know Ronnie, this service felt different. I was proud to be a part of his service and had a tough time keeping my emotions in check. Upon arriving home I sat down at my back door and broke down in tears not knowing why. How could I have such powerful emotions for a person I had never met yet felt so close to. At that moment I had a calm come over me and something told me to call my father.
After speaking with my dad about how I was feeling, I had noticed a ladybug on my left forearm...peaceful and calm as if to say everything is alright. Since that day every time I see a lady bug a special calm comes over me. I have since been stationed in Boston at the MSST, purchased my first home and have for the past two years had an infestation of sorts of ladybugs in my home. My wife says its good luck but I think maybe it's just a friend telling me everything is going to be alright. Thank you for bringing meaning to my ladybugs.
Ron bit me yesterday!!!
by Nate McNew
June 5, 2009
Ron told me one day at work that he didnt talk to me on purpose because he couldnt understand my "thick" country accent. I told Ron that i forgive him because his wasnt much better! Little did I know that this joke between us would start a great friendship.
Ron and I came from two different areas as I was raised in TN and Ron from RI, but we already had some things in common. I drove the same lonely roads to Alaska just like Ron. I met some much bigger, less friendlier bugs and animals than the ladybug Ron met. We both headed north for a place that was new to both of us, and we came for the same reason, to protect the friends and land that was most dear to us.
Several months after Ron and I became friends we had an opportunity to rent a house together along with two other guys Coop and Cookie. So now not only did i have the priviledge to work with him but come home to his cooking and all people that has eaten anything Ron made, you know why i mentioned it.
Oh, so to the ladybug story. Its not much but it did happen. I read the ladybug stories for the first time yesterday and read about all the ladybugs appearing to others when they seemingly needed it the most. I felt a little sad because i hadnt found that story yet and was feeling a little left out. Maybe the ladybug had appeared to me too and I didnt consider the meaning and brushed it away. Was my ladybug encounter more of a bother to me instead of a memory?
Well Ron fixed that today because less than 24 hrs after reading the stories I had just finished an escort of a ship just as me and Ron had done a thousand times together. I backed the truck and trailer down the boat ramp and as soon as i stopped, a ladybug landed on the front windshield just as it had done for Ron on his car. I immediately felt an overwhelming happiness as i said to myself, "I found my bug, I found my bug!"
It was nice to know that Ron didnt give up on me and he helped me find my ladybug when i wasnt even looking. All this is to say that i miss my friend, my roommate, and shipmate. Ron, keep sending those ladybugs so that we know you are still here watching us. Do ladybugs carry any diseases? Anybody know? Cause Ron bit me yesterday!!!
Jet Skiing at Deer Creek
by Jonathan Gill
August 3, 2009
I went jet skiing at Deer Creek here in Utah on Sunday. It was a beautiful day out, 95 degrees and sunny. I was sitting on the shore drinking a margarita, thinking about Ronnie as I always do, remembering the times we went jet skiing together.
I saw something from the corner of my eye fly by me. I thought a bug landed in my drink. When i looked down, there was Ronnie, in the ladybug form, on the lip of my cup. I quickly snapped a picture. It crawled from my cup, up my arm and stopped on Ronnie's wristband. It stayed there for a minute before flying away to bring a smile to someone else's face.
I guess it was his way of letting me know he was there with me, and it made my day that much greater.
I'm Glad I'm Not Alone
by Cousin Peter
December 31, 2009
I noticed a few weeks ago in my apartment that there has been a Lady Bug living in my kitchen. Every time I see it I think of the stories that I was told about Ronnie and the Lady Bug and smile.
I never thought that it was possible, but every time that I'm sad or have a bad day, that little Lady Bug is running across my counter and stops when it gets a few inches from me. Sometimes I talk to it thinking that it's Ronnie. Almost every night when I wash my dishes he flies and lands next to the sink and just watches me.
After I lost my grandfather, one of Ronnie's uncles, I remember seeing that little Lady Bug fly into my bedroom. I knew it was him and that he didn't want to see me so sad. Seeing the Lady Bug makes me happy. It reminds me that there is always someone watching over me, the same role that Ronnie had with his family.
Thanks cuz! I'm glad I'm not alone!
It reminds us they are with us still
by Ann Romanello
October 26, 2010
When my brother was with us, he used to say that he knew our deceased father was always nearby when he saw ladybugs.
On the night my brother passed away, we were at my mom's house and on the lamp were two ladybugs...it was unreal. Then, when my niece got engaged, my brother said he couldn't wait to go to the wedding. He died before then, but as she walked down the aisle, on the train of her dress, was a single ladybug.
It does bring us comfort and reminds us they are with us still!
Not just coincidence
by Kim Samsel
July 16, 2012
My 15 yr old dog had become sick in May and one morning I had reluctantly decided it was time to say goodbye to her and called the Vet to schedule the euthanasia. I was so upset and crying when I went into the kitchen, and there I saw a ladybug on my stove. I immediately thought of the last time I had seen a ladybug inside years ago on the day a close relative had died. I thought this must be a sign that I had made the right decision.
I left the ladybug there and took my dog to be euthanized. She died in my arms. When I returned home about an hour or so later, my heart heavy, I went to see if the ladybug was still there. She was dead, still in the same place I had left her. I wonder if she died at the exact moment my dog also died? I’m convinced there was some kind of connection between these two wonderful creatures, and that the ladybug was there to reassure and guide me.
I put her in a small ceramic box I had put my dog’s fur in as a keepsake so they could be together, as I believe their spirits will always be.
I went online right away to find out what the appearance of a ladybug means, and I came across your website, which has been a comfort to me, knowing for sure that it was not just coincidence that she appeared on that day.
[R.I.P. Suki 5-24-2012]
by Kathy Huamani
November 13, 2012
My ferret, Bam Bam, who had lymphoma, died at the emergency vet in my arms two days ago. She went downhill so quickly, it was such a shock. I knew she had lymphoma but was doing so well. It pained me so much to see her suffer in the end - all they could do was give her a morphine injection. She died shortly thereafter.
When I was finally able to leave the emergency vet with her and go outside, I felt some relief in the beautiful, warm November day. I talked to Bam Bam - told her I would miss her so much. Then something landed on her little cloth carrier held against my chest.
At first I started to shoo it away thinking it was a fly. Then I saw it was a ladybug, stopped, and felt some joy. The ladybug flew away shortly, but I felt it was a sign - like the ladybug came to take Bam Bam's spirit over the rainbow bridge. My experience with this website was similar to Kim's.
Thank you. Kathy Huamani RIP sweet "Bambie" 11-11-2012
Come Visit Me
December 12, 2012
I lost my chihuahua on 11/11/12. In the emergency vet office right before euthanasia, while sobbing uncontrollably I whispered to my babygirl "Come visit me." When I returned home I found a ladybug. Through my tears, I smiled knowing it was her.
Please send us your Ladybug stories and we'll publish them here.