A Fireman Gives Thanks November 26 2014, 1 Comment
This holiday, I've compiled a short list of things I am thankful for. Some I've taken for granted in the past and some I hold dear to me every day. These are in no particular order of importance:
1. The Halligan: Sixteen years into this career and I'm still amazed all the time at how Hugh Halligan created a nearly perfect tool. It's a step, a pry bar, a striking tool and I'm pretty sure if you're very careful you can use it to play vinyl records and remove splinters.
2. My Crew: I've been the bid-in Captain at Aerial 11 for a year and have been blessed to fall in with the best group of guys an officer could ask for. My crew is mature. They are seasoned and they are true professionals. They are the perfect mix of everything a fire truck needs. I've got a car buff, a grease monkey, a joker, a common sense guy, a straight talker, and a bulldog. Truth is, neither one is any of those by himself, but together they are all those things and more.
3. Coffee: This is my life-blood and is as part of my daily routine as waking, sleeping and eating. I am thankful for coffee. I am thankful for the Bunn coffee maker in the station and I'm thankful of the never-ending supply that is on hand. I'm also thankful that it's so good for you, because truthfully, how can anything this good be bad.
4. The Chief: This is something I had always taken for granted until this year. Truthfully, you can't appreciate a truly great chief until you've experienced a truly terrible one. Unfortunately, our battalion is on it's fifth Chief in 12 months. Most have been mediocre, one has been terrible and all of them have not hidden the fact that they would rather be somewhere else. So, to Chief Indy Morgado, Chief Mike Simon, Chief Danny Gonzalez, I say thank you. To the others, I say that you truly have done a disservice to the rank. I've got more to say about this, but I'll save it for a future blog.
5. The Federal 'Q': Really is there a sweeter sound to a firefighter?
6. The Kitty Burger: Many an afternoon, morning, and evening and late morning and early evening hunger pains have been cured with the kitty burger. Also known as peanut butter and jelly, it is the official power bar of the fire service. It is the protein powder for the guys that don't shave their arms and it is the perfect snack for firemen, because it can be prepared in under forty-five seconds and consumed on the way to a call. If you're looking for a light version of this sandwich, take one piece of bread--pb on the upper half, jelly on the lower, then fold. Kitty taco.
7. Youtube: This is a constant source of entertainment and education in the fire station. Youtube has done more to bring the fire service together than any other thing I can think of. It still amazes me that I can watch a fire from LA County, click a few more times and watch the brothers in Houston tackle some serious business. Then click a few more times and watch the Crazy Hot Matrix. Youtube has proven to me that firefighters across the country are largely the same--a little crazy (bout half a bubble off center), damn funny, and sometimes heroic.
8. Modern Fire Boots: When I started, we were issued the yellow martian moon boots--the rubber, guaranteed to slide off a roof, unable to leg lock a ladder boots. I thought that was as good as it got until I tried on my friend's Haix. Wow! I will never go back and I'm happy to tell anyone that it will be the best money you ever spend in the fire service.
9. The Firehouse Dinner Table: It has been said before in many places, but the dinner table is where stories are told, friendships are forged, lessons are learned, and the brotherhood is born. I am thankful for dinner with the guys. On some days, it is the only time we all get to be together. It is the place where I have had the most laughs and felt most at peace these last sixteen years.
10. My Family: I know, this one goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway. You should feel just as sad to go to work as you are excited and you should be just as ready to leave in the morning as you are ready to hang for one more cup of coffee. You should know that while you're away, your spouses are juggling everyday problems that are much more frustrating, long lasting and difficult than any fire you'll ever fight. You are able to be who you are because of them and your success depends on their support.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I wish you all success, laughter, and fire. The ones you have to put out and the ones that drive you to be better than you are in 2014.