Twenty

Twenty years ago I thought I would do this job forever. I had a dream, work in Providence till I was sixty and they threw me out, then move to somewhere where they have a volunteer fire department and put my experience to good use. The department offered a 50% pension after twenty years, we contribute 9 1/2 % of our pay toward the fund, the city contributes the rest. “That’s nice,” I thought, never considering I would actually leave after twenty.

Time marches on, and twenty years passed in the blink of an eye. The person I was when I started is long gone, a different, more somber, at times cynical person has taken his place. People who walked in my shoes fought for the twenty year pension deal, knowing from experience that twenty years in firefighter time is a long, long time. They knew, as only one who lived the life will ever know, that for some, twenty years is enough. They knew that at forty-five or fifty, starting a new career is not that easy, or starting a business when everybody else had a twenty year head start challenging to say the least.

I remember sitting in at a critical incident debriefing a few hours after I held two dead infants in my arms. My latex gloves melted into their skin their bodies were so hot as I tried unsuccessfully to revive them with my new CPR skills. I bagged the one year old – Savannah was her name I found out later, while doing compressions on the other, John. It was rough, but it was what I had signed on for. The guy that brought the babies from the fire to me was a twenty year veteran firefighter, a tough guy by all accounts. When it was his turn to speak he filled with tears, and couldn’t. He hung his head and valiantly tried to express his feelings, but couldn’t. He left the room. A few months later he was gone. Retired. He told me much later that it wasn’t necessarily that call that did it, it was all the calls leading up to and including that one that finished him. He simply could not do it again.

I should have learned a lesson that day, but mired in the arrogance of youth I hadn’t lived enough to sense my own frailty. I was invincible. I thought of him the other day, as I drove home from what I thought was an unremarkable tour. As I neared my street, I thought of the little girl who claimed to have injured her knee and refused to move from the gymnasium floor. Her mother looked on from a distance, annoyed as I tried to figure out what was wrong. No bleeding or deformity, swelling or anything really. She showed me her other knee as a comparison, and I noticed bruises, weeks old on both legs, and both arms, and a haunted look on her face. I let it go, we can’t save everybody, and she probably is just an active kid who bruises easily. Or not.

I turned onto my street, and had to stop the car. Where was the little girl now? Was she home, in her room, reading or watching TV, or was she being punished for being a crybaby, like the kid a few weeks ago whose mother called us because her son “fell” from his bed. Fell and had severe head trauma and curling iron burns on his legs.  It took ten minutes for me to pull myself together before I could walk in my door and not bring twenty years worth of memories with me.

I haven’t been sleeping. It’s been going on for months now, every night that I’m home I’ll go into a fitful slumber around midnight, only to be fully awake at around two. I toss and turn for hours, finally getting some relief from my spinning mind at sunrise, only to be back up an hour later. I grab an hour here and there as time permits but have no idea what a full nights sleep feels like, unless it is drug induced, but I try to avoid that.

What runs through my mind is probably similar to every other person my age, are the kids really okay, will the bills get paid, am I truly happy or is this just an illusion, is that spot on my back the cancer that will kill me or just a mole. Then I get the ghosts.

-the baby that was run over by the eighteen wheeler as it turned the corner on North Main and Doyle, dead in the middle of the street, the baby carriage twisted and crushed one hundred feet from the body

-the guy that was buried alive at sunset on Dorothy, and his lifeless arm that was the first thing we dug up

-the twenty year old guy and his twenty year old friend, dead in the front seat of their Mustang at the Atwells Ave off ramp

-the fifty-five year old guy who was new at motorcycle riding who tapped a rear view mirror, lost control on 195, flipped over the jersey barrier and was crushed by a Toyota Camry full of kids. We found his foot later, still in his boot

-the eighteen year old tattoo artist found hanging in his basement by his roomate

-my friends brother found hanging in his bedroom closet

-a RISD student found hanging from the wrought iron fence at Prospect Park

-the kid found hanging off the side of his house on New Years Eve

-the fifty-five year old who told his wife he was going golfing, started his car, didn’t open the garage door and died next to his clubs

-the forty year old who held up traffic while he considered jumping from the overpass, then did as the crowd that had formed cheered

-the college kid who fell eighty feet to his death the week before Christmas

-the baby who rolled himself into his blanket and suffocated, while his dad was napping on the couch

-my friend Kenny who had a heart attack at his third building fire of the day, and had to be defibrillated, and came back to life but not the job

-the seventeen year old girl who bled to death in the front seat of a car that had struck a tree while eluding police as her friends picked her pockets of the crack vials they were selling

-the baby born dead and put into a hefty bag

-the woman dead in her kitchen with a bullet hole in her forehead and her three children sitting on a couch in the next room

-the two babies that broke the veteran firefighter

-the eight year old deaf girl who broke my heart when I learned she had been prostituting for her foster parents

–the twenty-year old dancer dead in her car after taking all of her pills, and the vomit covered note on her lap

-the family dead behind the front door as the fire burned out of control behind them

-delivering a baby in the back of the rescue and having the mother yell get that fucking thing away from me when I handed it to her

-watching blood gush from a hole in a man’s head while doing compressions

There are dozens, hundreds more, all waiting for that delicate twilight between sleep and consciousness to come uninvited into my mind. More join the parade every day that I come to work. Just this week a twenty three year old hit and killed while waking home from a nightclub, a thirty year old guy shot in the head, back and legs who walked to the rescue then collapsed.

I am not a machine. I am a simple person who signed on to do a job, and have done it well. If I choose to leave this year, I will do so with my head held high, regardless of what the Republican and Conservative movement has to say about us greedy union pigs who are taking from the children to fill our pockets.

53 Comments

  • hilinda says:

    Most people have no idea. None. At all.
    And they are highly invested in keeping it that way.

    You should have your head held high, Michael. You really should.

  • Mike:

    No matter the choice it has to be yours and not the result of the comments by the politicals and un-educated about our job. Hang your head to noone ever. Your are one of the best in the streets, and I would be honored to have you over me if something ever happened.

    And just something to ponder, afetr 26 years, the ghosts still come and go, but the conversations are a little shorter.

    Good job as always Brother.

  • Bob Lincoln says:

    And the post on my page below this was a friend asking, “should I wear sneakers or boots?”

    I believe we choose to come to this earth. I believe that I chose specifically to be here to help others, in any and every way possible – fire/EMS, teaching CPR, giving blood, working in an engineering services group helping others create devices that provide a better life for all, or just being a friend.

    Only you can choose when, where, how to spend that life, and toward what end. I believe you have made an excellent choice and hope that you will continue as long as you feel you can. And part of that is educating others who have no idea, or refuse to believe what goes on around them.

  • Linda Quattrucci says:

    Mike:

    I don’t know how you all do it – but when something happens you go into action and put all else aside. After, when you think about the outcome, whether good or bad, you have done your best – that is all you can do, that is all you know how to do. Be proud of yourself. I am proud of all the firefighters and rescue EMT’s that put themselves in danger every day to help save lives. There are many citizens that truly don’t understand the importance of what you do. I would like to see some of the politicians and other citizens, those that put you all down and think you make too much, go out and do this themselves – they couldn’t!

    When Bryan comes home from work, especially those days where something tragic has happened, I see how distraught he is, he feels for those he takes care of – it doesn’t end there, you always wonder how the ones you saved are doing, or you worry about the families that have lost someone. You all care, you have feelings. You are the best at what you do!

    Thanks for all you and your colleagues do!

    Linda Quattrucci

  • Michael Morse says:

    Thank you, Linda, and Rick, Bob and Hilinda.

  • anon says:

    My god. I marvel that anyone can do the job and still be sane. Hold your head high, Michael, you – and every one of your fellow emergency/rescue brothers and sisters – are heroes!

    Thank you for doing what you do.

  • Suz says:

    Get. PTSD. Counseling. NOW!!!!! I am not kidding. Otherwise, the ghosts will dominate the rest of your (probably abbreviated)life. After all that you have given, do you really think that’s what you deserve? You carry the weight of hundreds of truly devastating tragedies; is it your fate to become one of them? It doesn’t have to be. You aren’t a cop, but READ THIS POST!!!!!

    http://beatandrelease.blogspot.com/2011/02/blog-referral-my-shameful-confession.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+blogspot/HbvRt+(Beat+and+Release)

    (I’m that “loyal reader”)
    You live in the same world. Whether you retire or not, you have earned some peace of mind.

  • 6aftermidnight says:

    Senate Bill 5 in my own state of Ohio, Wisconsin Budget Repair Bill, and God knows what else is to come…the fire service is under attack, by a bunch of rich people who have no concept of these situations you write about. Reading this reminds me of why we fight! Nice piece.

  • sara says:

    Thank you for being YOU!

  • Missie says:

    Your post sent shivers through my body, and brought back many a memory/nightmare from my days on the rig! I have tears as I read some of these, and also as I think of others I have gone through. It definitely takes some intestinal fortitude to do the job you do…THANK YOU for doing your job!!! Whether you know it or not, you do make a difference!

  • Christine says:

    Whew. What a post. May you one day enjoy peaceful sleep visited only by those ghosts you have helped to carry on, regardless of the situation requiring your expertise.

    Whatever you decide, you earned the right to hold your head high when you first entered the service many years ago and cemented it with your years of hard, sometimes thankless, work.

  • Tristan Phillips says:

    “regardless of what the Republican and Conservative movement has to say about us greedy union pigs”

    Ah yes, the old canard that it’s all the Republican fault.

    Free clue #1: Take a look at Wisconsin, and see where all the hate and violence is coming from. Then tell me it’s all the Republican’s fault.

    Free Clue #2: The average teacher salary plus benefits is over 80K, and union administrator salaries are 100K plus. The average private salary plus benefits is around 40K. I’m sure that’s the fault of some Republican somewhere as well.

    You wanna talk about politics or just throw typical insults out there, don’t be surprised when someone call you out…

  • Sprklcitytrk1 says:

    As I read your piece, I feel the same. The ghosts come, when its quiet and even after ORASCOM meetings. Sleep gets better but only in spurts. After the 8th anniversary of the Station fire I ark think about the families, there friends, the responds and most of all the vision I will never have erased out of my own mind, the girlfriend crying,sobbing holding her boyfriend, missing ears,hair fingertips,respiratory burns and most of all, gone from this world. Crying to us to help him but you know the truth. He’s gone. Countless more calls same as yours…making me hug my children even tighter every tours end. You will leave some day, and have the knowledge that you have made a difference. That’s what you were put here for…..listen to Ranger Rick…I couldn’t ask for a better responded to stand over me during my ” bad day”

  • Bob Jones says:

    Until Ol’ Tristan can compare a private sector firefighter’s pay with a public sectors firefighter’s pay his cute little numbers are useless. Saying public employees make too much because you take the average of all jobs in both sectors, including and incredible amount of minimum wage jobs in the private, is silly, and disingenuous.

    Be proud of your job sir!

    Free fact (and an actual fact) #1: 85% of corporations in Wisconsin pay no Corporate tax. Tell me again why we don’t tax the rich instead??? And no, they DO NOT create jobs…been there, done that, doesn’t work.

  • Michael Morse says:

    Tristan, the Republican Party, The Tea Party and Conservatives have declared war on public sector unions. Simple as that.

  • Patrick says:

    A moving post, to say the least. People like you are the ones young medics like me look up to and aspire to be like.

  • Rhetticent says:

    I worked years as a paramedic in the private sector. I could write a list like yours. I have no pension, and was paid less than the government employees in surrounding areas because I had no political stroke. This is an issue related to the unfair advantages political unions have obtained by electing those very same politicians who then supervise the “bargaining”, giving away the store to the unions in exchange for votes in the future. No one forced you to choose your career path. Many other have done it for less, and without the promise of a nice retirement, and have done so without complaining. That’s what “conservatives” are angry about.

    • Bob Lincoln says:

      Funny, I don’t see why THEY are angry. THEY didn’t DO THE JOB. THEY DON’T HAVE THE GHOSTS.

    • michael says:

      Rhetticent, nobody should do this job with no benefits and less than what I make. Nobody. You cheapen the profession by doing so, and fill the pockets of the ambulance company owners with your sweat. I’m sorry for your troubles, and you had better start complaining or things will only get worse for you.

    • Bob Jones says:

      Nope, this isn’t what they are angry about. They are in the middle of a strategy to pit union workers against non union, public sector against private. All the while you are ignoring the fact that the party you are supporting is concerned only with the rich and wealthy, and is just using you as a pawn. You are supporting a party that is in favor of eliminating the estate tax and lowering taxes for billionares, yet you will never benefit from this, it will only hurt you in an underfunding of services you might actually use. So fall in to the trap, I’m glad you and Steve Forbes have the same political agenda.

  • There is nothing I can add more to all the comments of admiration left here, leaving the politics aside! How amazing you are! How brave and couragous to manage to get up everyday to face the things you do. We so rely on guys like you who help and comfort those who are in trouble or cannot manage their lives well. Some are tough in this life, many are weak, as you well know. Then there are the ones who really need your help. Those are the ones that made your job worthwhile, those are the ones that helped you choose the job you did. Blessings and Peace Friend.

  • Carylyn H. Mcentee says:

    All the PTSD counseling in the world won’t banish the ghosts. I remember vividly the last time I slept through the night, on a weekend away in 1990. It’s what happens when we do what we do.You are among the best Michael and you have to take solice in the fact that, no matter what , you did your best! Sometimes people even say thank you! I remember when I attended the funeral of a friend that burned to death in a fire and her little girl looked up at me and said”I’m glad it was you that was with my Mommy when she died.” Those are the things that keep us doing this unbelievable job. I can’t think of anything I ‘d rather do. Oh, and by the way, Tristan you are an ASS.

  • Bob Lincoln says:

    Tristan, until you jump out of bed on a wintry March morning at 4 am to “meet the police”, are told to Step On It by the dispatcher, and arrive 1 minute later to find a 73 yr-old woman sitting on the floor, back against the fridge, staring blankly at you with white eyes in a sea of blood, and feel the dent on the side of her head from a crushed skull,

    only then can you comment with any credibility or meaning.

    And I’m not affiliated with either party. But the only ones at work who spout your rhetoric just happen to be conservatives. And they do not operate with accurate info.

    And I did the job for free. The ghosts are compliments of the house.

    The assailant was caught. He was set free after 4 years on an appealed, reduced charge. He offended again several times. The lady lived another 10 years, according to her niece, in constant fear for her life.

    Reconsider who is really at fault.

  • Matt M says:

    I have been reading for a couple years, but now is when I need to leave my first comment.

    Thank you. Thank you and your brothers and sisters for taking care of the things that I can’t, that I will not even know about, and that I couldn’t handle.

  • JoeEMT799 says:

    Mike,
    Take some time off the truck. You don’t have to leave rescue but just take some time out of rescue. I have been there and know the feeling. Nothing erases the nightmares and memories but they do get less in time. The only people who understand are others who have committed their lives to serving in the streets. Focus on the saves and the positives, which outweigh the negatives. Your value is priceless to those you serve to protect. Politicians will never understand. The frustration with their ignorance only makes it more difficult. Be Safe Sleep it will eventually happen again but only after you stay off the meat wagon for awhile.

  • EMTMFD says:

    According to Tristan the average private sector salary is 40K? Where? 1990 Rhode Island? That in case your math challenged is about 800 bucks a week. I think you are considerably low in your estimation there Tristan.

    Agree with Mike – The unions and public employees are the target of the Tea Party and the Right. The working men and women are under attack in RI and across the country.

    Wake up and realize this. For all of us that work in the private sector, don’t think you are immune from this. Look at all the off-shoring and job migrations away from RI, Mass to third world countries, while the rich get richer.

  • Mike Octeau says:

    Mike-

    Once again, great post. You have the unique ability of
    putting to words what many of us on the job are feeling.
    Thanks for sharing that gift.

    It’s sad that at the end of twenty plus years of dedicated
    service, there are those out there that are attempting to
    make us feel guilty for doing our jobs and trying to earn a modest
    living. The majority of career firefighters earn salaries that are well below
    what many in the private sector get. Unions have spent many years
    negotiating the pay and benefits that public employees now
    get. We didn’t just wake up one morning to find what many have recently
    said are “lavish” pays and benefits. There was lot of concession on both
    sides, over many years, to come up with fair compensation for public
    employees. Send me to jail for wanting a salary that I can actually pay my bills
    with…. for having a health plan that keeps me working …. for wanting a modest
    pension ( that I pay into by the way) at the end of my career.

    Americans are angry at the wrong people. We have let big business, Wall Street,
    the media and fatcat politicians fool us into thinking that public employees are the
    reason for our economic woes. If government had paid in their share of the
    pensions, maybe there would be enough to pay the rest of government budgets.
    Maybe, if everyone – including big business and the wealthy – paid their fair share
    of taxes, budget balancing wouldn’t be so hard.

    I’m tired of the Tristans and rhetticents out there whining about the evil union
    firefighters out there. Until your nights are filled with the ghosts that Mike writes about,
    put your efforts into finding the real culprits of the economic crisis and stop drinking the Kool-Aid.

  • Patricia Blackman says:

    So you “chose” the job Michael. Thank God you and so many of your brothers and sisters did. Let’s face it. Even with trainng you don’t know how it will be until you are commited to it. The incredible highs when you save someone or deliver a wanted baby or calm a frightened patient when it seems impossible to do so. Then the depths of the lows when no saving is possible or when the injuries you see will not be possible to mend or when that so very much wanted baby cannot be saved. I am 70 years old now and I still remember when I was about three and my Daddy came home after spending four days at the station and Mommy said “Ed go lay down for a while. I’ll call you when supper is ready.” I loved and had missed Daddy so I went into the bedroom and got up and stayed beside him. He wound his big strong arms around me and held me tight. I could feel him shaking and then his tears on my face. It scared me. My big strong Daddy was crying? He fell into a restless sleep and I got down and went to the kitchen., “Mommy why is Daddy so sad? What’s wrong?” “Today he couldn’t save a little girl Patty. He carried her from a fire but she died.” She looked just like you”. There are jobs and then there are those other jobs. Your’s is a calling not a job. You firefighters, both those on engines and those in rescues, are like the soldiers on the front lines. No one who works in the private sector for the most paart will ever understand. They don’t bitch about paying hundreds of bucks for a ticket to see a football game because “An athlete’s job time is limited.” Bull shit! He’s only running around a field with a ball not into heavy traffic with the jaws of life in his hand to save an accident victim. She’s only kicking a soccer ball into a net not running up stairs pulling a fire hose in horrible heat to try to save a stranger’s life. The “union busters” are backed by the big money boys not one of whom would have the guts to do what you do!
    They will never understand. I do only a bit more because my Daddy was a strong man like you and our family knows a bit more because we were the lucky ones. Our Daddy was a firefighter not a lousy union busting money grubbing (yes they are the money grubbers), wall street owned jackass.
    There is a place in Hell for people like that and there (ain’t) no firefighters to put out that fire!!!!
    Do what’s best for you Michael. You have, God love you, always done what is best for US!
    To all of the public workers out there. Teachers, police officers, firefighters etc. You are in my prayers.

  • Natalie says:

    Love you. Mean it.

  • mike says:

    your gonna be alright my friend, your strong.

  • Valerie Moreau says:

    Remeber you’re only A GREEDY UNION PIG until some rich republican prick’s house is on fire!!!!ALWAYS hold your head up for the amazing job you guys do!!!!!

  • Tom Kenney says:

    Good post, Mike. Many of us (your friends and peers) can relate to your laundry list of horrors. Just remember, we didn’t cause any of these horrible occurances but our actions have saved many from these fates.

  • Tom Kenney says:

    NIGHTMARES

    I can’t forget the time I spent
    Putting out the fires
    Though I try my best, I never do
    No matter my desires

    I go to sleep and try to think
    Of nothing but my wife
    But I lie in bed, and live again
    The chaos of my life

    My shoulder aches, and I return
    To the night upon the ladder
    Suddenly it slips, and I grab ahold
    Of a lightpost I had straddled

    From on the roof, four hands appear
    Grab me by the arm
    They pull me up, and though I feel the pain
    They keep me safe from harm

    So I roll over and change positions
    To try to continue sleeping
    But now my knee begins to ache
    And I picture myself creeping

    As I crawl along a smoky floor
    I fall headfirst in a hole
    Hurtling downward toward the dark
    I fear for my very soul

    But just in time, a brother saves me
    By lunging on my knee
    He keeps me from falling into the pit
    And drags me up, I’m free

    Once again I moan, and try to find
    A comfortable spot on the bed
    As I finally begin to drift asleep
    I see visions in my head

    I see a baby with her face chewed off
    Another under a truck
    A young man crushed in an elevator
    Where he had gotten stuck

    I picture a family dead on the stairs
    Who had tried to get out
    A baby pulled lifeless from his room
    And I hear his mother shout

    I wake up sweating, get out of bed
    And get myself a drink
    Take some pills and wash them down
    While standing by the sink

    After a moment, the shaking subsides
    And I’m ready to try again
    As I pull the covers over my head
    I try to shut down my brain

    It works for awhile, but then I feel
    A throbbing in my neck
    And once again, I’m back in time
    To a night I’d rather forget

    Every night, it’s always the same
    As soon as I go to bed
    It seems the pain I feel in my body
    Triggers the pain in my head

    Tom Kenney 2005

  • anon says:

    Politics aside, I don’t think ANY of our emergency/fire/rescue personnel are paid enough! How many of us *not* in the business face the very real possibility that when we go to work that day, we might not come home ever again? My dad was a LEO, and living with the knowledge that any day on the job might be his last was tough. I know guys who rush *into* burning buildings instead of doing what the rest of us would do, and run away. I know of emergency medical personnel who have responded to fatal accident scenes, only to find that their child was the victim. How much would YOU want to be paid to risk your life?

    God bless you, Michael.

  • You will never, ever be able to banish all the faces.

    But you can, with a little time and perspective, make friends with the ghosts.

  • Stephen DeNinno says:

    Mike hang in there you will sleep some day…I think. It’s been 6 years since I’ve left, and the sights and smells are still there. But it will get better……won’t it?

  • Suz says:

    The ghosts may never go away, but don’t let them keep you sitting in the driveway, isolated from your family.

  • Tony B. says:

    Michael-

    You do it because most people can’t. Everyone you’ve saved, and the spirits of those you weren’t able to, thank you.
    Your blog is sometimes hard to read, especially this post, but it’s important that people outside your world understand what goes on. Thanks for the blog, thanks for your service, thanks for sharing.

  • Deborah Parr says:

    Bless you.

  • sarah archer says:

    omg thank you, I just came across this on Insomniacs blog.
    My brother finally retired a few years ago after the full 25/30 years services and he never talks about the bad stuff, now I understand why.
    Here in england we have the same c*ap from the politicians re cuts in services etc, surely prevention is better than tragedy.
    Bless you all and thankyou.
    lollipop.
    xx

  • The wear and tear is both physical and mental. The physical wear is easier to deal with most of the time. We have a battery of techniques and technology to heal the body, but no one has a really good grasp on how to heal the mind.

    We all invent our own methods to deal with the mental battering we take on a daily basis. Sometimes non of them work and it’s time to walk away because like a vertebrae or a rotator cuff, there comes a point when nothing can repair the damage completely. At that point, it’s time to leave.

    You are the only person who can decide when you’ve reached that point. Just don’t ignore the warning signs.

  • Monique says:

    “If I choose to leave this year”

    That part is your decision. But retiring doesn’t get you out of writing, mister.

  • Mike B says:

    Nice Post Mike….Some peoples tolerances are Much Higher than others..You lasted a long time on the Bus…..You make me Proud to be your friend…Im glad I didnt live through those experiences…Just hearing about them was bad enough….But You have my Respect Mike and I might bail with ya…Kinda wearin on me …Great Job

  • Zeesh says:

    Hello, came here from Insomniac Medics Blog

    I hope you are well

    Reading this before I started University-studying to become a Paramedic, I have only realised I had no idea what you were writing about. Now, only 6 months, I am beginning to understand, unfortunately, through ghosts of my own

    Luckily I have not had many "major" jobs yet, but they will come- it is inevitable 

    It is however the "minor" jobs that make you glad for everything you have, the alcoholics, the mentally ill, the impoverished or simply the lonely old people, where perhaps the only people they will speak to that day or even week will be us when we go to pick them up off the floor 

    Heres hoping I make it through training and indeed 20 years

    Thanks for sharing your experience 

    Zeesh, UK

  • Ed says:

    I feel your pain brother. I was down in Mississippi with some of your brothers during Katrina. The same politics down there, suck our futures away up here in our every day jobs. These people have no idea what we go through. The emotional baggage that we carry and store away is a heavy burden and to not allow us some peace in our future and retirement means they have put no value on the toll our job takes. Our pension where I work is 100% self sufficient and so much so that the city has borrowed from it for certain capital improvements, they are still trying to take it away and also tell me that I can’t retire until I’m 65 and if my body gives out sooner, then I gets peanuts on the dollar unless I am basically in a wheel chair. Thanks for your service. But as we all have seen, the memories of 911 are short lived and we are moved back down to the status of second class citizen and just a pain in everyone’s asses on the highway….until it is their time of need. Stay strong. We have to keep our heads high because we know we didn’t get in this for the money, it’s for the reward of making a difference any chance we can.

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