Times are tough, relatively speaking, for firefighters. Station closings, manpower reductions, aging apparatus and equipment, tattered uniforms, brownouts, layoffs and pay cuts, pension reductions and healthcare concessions are taking their toll on even the most optimistic among us.
Nevertheless, I always manage to find a way to mention that I'm a firefighter whenever the chance presents itself. Not only that, but my city, Providence, on the verge of bankruptcy, plagued with fires, nightly, and now daily shootings and murders is always mentioned proudly as well.
Being a firefighter is good. Being a PROVIDENCE Firefighter is even better. I hope every firefighter feels the same about their department, because at the end of the day, what matters most are the people beside you, and backing you up. The department is us, the people who put on the uniform, and the turnout gear and make it to work every day, and do their best regardless of all the nonsense that surrounds us. And if it isn't something that you feel great about, it may be time to move on.
So, when somebody asks me what I do for a living, I tell them. I'm a firefighter. In Providence. And it still feels great to say it.
Even the best politicians will never be able to take that away.
It's forever. A lot of people have said it before me, and generations will repeat it long after I'm gone.