I had no idea what I was getting into when I started the application process to become a firefighter. I had a vague understanding about what firefighters do, and couldn’t wait to gear up and go in, full speed ahead. Little did I know that there is so much more to this life than fighting fires and maintaining our vehicles and quarters. Had I known that I would be exposed to a world of suffering, and poverty, and illness I would still have gone in, perhaps a little more slowly, peeling back the layers of humanity that had fallen through the cracks one person at a time.
Being under the lights and sirens brings with it far more than the thrill of fighting fires. It opened my eyes, and taught me to be grateful for the things that I have, and have the opportunity to pursue, and the desire to do so. I learned that passing judgement on the downtrodden is a fools game, and that it is a thin line between success and failure in our society, one wrong turn, or a few bad choices, a bad investment and the downward cycle begins.
People are people, no matter their station in life, and it was my honor and privileged to be there for the ones who didn’t, wouldn’t or couldn’t make their life work.
My article at Fire Engineering is about one of the many who struggle. Thanks for reading.