Hook and Irons

The Damn Few May 09 2018, 3 Comments

The following is a guest blog by Capt. Mike Yetter, currently a USAR member, he is a training Capt with MDFR and former Captain of 'The Meat Grinder,' Aerial 29.

“The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.”

– Unknown

“Here’s to us and those like us.  The Few. . .The Damn Few.”

The above lines are paraphrased, but in its entirety were made famous in the Book “Damn Few” by US Navy SEAL Rorke Denver and the movie in which he was also a part of,  “Act of Valor."  As with many inspirations that originate from the military, the concept of the few who make the difference resonates so true within the fire service.

Recently, it's become apparent to me that there are only a few who give a damn about the ethos, logos and pathos in cultivating true Firemanship.  It seems there are too damn few people who earn their paycheck compared to those that collect them. It appears more people are willing to get this job and damn few of them care enough to be good at it. There are too many recliners that shows signs of wear and tear when damn few are wearing out their gear on the training grounds.

The “Damn Few” are just that--the minority.  If you could group people into categories based on their work ethic, these would probably be the following categories as I observe them:

20% would consist of the “Aggressively Disengaged.” These are the people who arrive in body (not necessarily in spirit) just to collect a paycheck. They are barely average, yet complain when no one goes above and beyond to meet their needs. This doesn’t make them bad people, this just makes them useless. They are a liability to the department in terms of their lack of KSA’s and their potential influence to others.

60% are the “Average/ Status Quo”. As the group that represents the majority, these individuals are neither good or bad. They hang in the proverbial purgatory. Many who occupy this position have the capacity to rise above the status quo to either accomplish and be more, or  sink to the level of the bottom feeders. The only thing that separates the direction they go is the influence that guides them. These individuals have a choice. They are inclined by nature to be receptive to the influence that suits them.

Those categorized above are usually referred to as “Nice” when someone inquires about them. Be careful! If someone asks about a firefighter and the response is a shoulder shrug that coincides with an answer of, “He/She is a nice person…”  This is the tell, or politically correct way of implying that other than being a pleasant person, they typically don’t provide any benefit other than companionship.

20% are the “Damn Few." This designation is not self-imposed. These are the individuals who were either born to operate at a higher level or were so receptive to guidance it almost feels natural. These individuals are stubborn, somewhat idealistic, and have a strong disdain for anything less than the pursuit of perfection. Typically viewed as being “righteous”, they are seen as overachievers by their peers. Subordinates and supervisors (unless they are like minded) honestly don’t much care for them. However, when the impossible is presented because the many can’t accomplish it, it’s "The Few" that get it done. 


These thoughts transcribed are not done so from a pedestal. They are not intended to create inflated egos. These are merely observations from the trenches in admiration to the specific rare breed of individual who are rarely recognized for their dedication. 

Tonight, I raise my pint to you. . .The Damn Few.

Do you have a friend or coworker that you consider to be one of The Damn Few?  Write their name in the comment section below.


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