“..to be a fireman”

"Skid load on the skid"

Tonight I received a forwarded post from another brother.  Headline read, “..firefighters sacked for response to fatal fire”.  The headline is, if anything, misleading.  It creates the impression, for those who are passionate about the fire service, that the cause of the said “sacking” is unjust and that perhaps the need for scapegoats.  Upon reading more, one finds that the response of said “sacked firefighters” was apparently somewhat lazy and perhaps a little to casual.  I have learned to believe in the theory of two sides to every story.  But it wouldn’t take much for me to believe that this accusation is true.

Isn’t that a shame?  It’s really pathetic.  When you think about the fact that firemen, in American society,  are considered the most responsible, duty bound, faithful of men.  But that isn’t always the case is it.

I’ve decided to write about what I know.  Firemen.  Brotherhood.  Duty and Honor.  I’ve decided to give into the curious bent inside me that needs to get its thoughts out, to pour out.  What I can’t do on paper, I seem to be able to do on a keyboard and I have been dodging it for a good amount of time.  So, let us begin.

We’ll talk about the fire service.  We’ll talk as if we are sitting at the kitchen table, a good pot of joe, freshly perked.  (Percolated coffee is the best for a firehouse!).  And in these discussions, fits and spats, we’ll hammer out what we believe in.  For what kind of men and women are we to be in this new century if we don’t know where we’ve come from, where we are going and what it is we believe in.  My ambition, is to be only a “fireman”, and in that, a good one.  I am dedicated to that endeavor.  And I have found that I cannot separate it from my faith, my belief in the Creator.  So you will find that my steps, my view-point, my “world view” will always have an arrow pointing back to the author of all things.  I think that is fitting.  After all, we are the ones who have set ourselves to go so far as to even lay down our lives for our fellow-man, ..”the work of God Himself”, as Chief Croker put it.

I give you fair warning.  I am opinionated and obstinate.  I tend to believe in the more difficult way of doing things and I am an incurable romantic.  My first wife, several chief officers and other have all tried to cure me.  It didn’t work.  But I feel in my gut that these qualities are what I need to help me find the right path in this modern fire service we are dedicated to you.

So this blog is about us, the Brotherhood and the compass we need to find our way in a world that is difficult to navigate and find your way in, among many who do not know or understand the meaning of honor, duty, fortitude  and sacrifice.  And by following a proven path, we can lay down the morals and ethics, values and world view that sets us apart from what Chief Croker called the, “average mind”.

In doing so, I hope to be a help to you, reader.  For there are so many of you out there that want more substance in your leadership class, in the men that lead you and in the oath you take.  I do not have all the answers, for I am but a student of the fire service myself, but I think we can foster good things, and good things can grow into great things.  If Chief Croker can reach across a hundred years and impact me, then I believe I can impact you across the Internet.

Here, have a cup with the Chief………

“I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman.  The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one;  but we who know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling.

We strive to preserve from destruction the wealth of the world, which is the product of the industry of men, necessary for the comfort of both the rich and the poor.  We are the defenders from fire of the art which has beautified the world, the product of the genius of men and the means of the refinement of mankind.

But above all, our proudest endeavor is to save the lives of men – the work of God Himself.

Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even at the supreme sacrifice.  Such considerations may not strike the average mind, but they are sufficient to fill the limit of our ambition in life and to make us serve the general purpose of human society.”

– – Chief E. F. Croker  FDNY

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