“A hero is someone who voluntarily walks into the unknown” – Tom Hanks
We all have those heroes that we look up to as we transcend this journey called life. When I started this blog, I told myself that I would never talk about my career. Some of you may question why I would not want to do that and there is really no one answer, but the main reason is I try to keep a clear separation between my personal and professional life.
My intent when I started this blog was to share motivation, inspiration, and encouragement with others. I made a personal commitment to write posts as they come to mind on topics in the lifestyle category that could literally range from one end of the spectrum to the other.
It’s my website, right? As author and content creator, I control absolutely everything that exists so if I broke my own rule; it was purely because I wanted too. I found myself at an impasse as I woke up this morning because my mind kept telling me that it was time.
Although talking about something I have been a part of for the last 23 years should come easy, I just wanted to avoid any discussion on it on my blog.
I have had so many amazing opportunities in my fire service career that I am beyond thankful for and I get to travel all over the country teaching on a wide array of topics as they pertain to emergency services in front of multitudes of people, networking and collaborating with some of the best our business has to offer, so I thought; WHY NOT SHARE ONE STORY? So here it goes!
As a young ambiguous kid, I always knew I wanted to do something great in life that involved helping other people. The gift of gabbing (chatterbox) came natural, along with the enjoyment of social interaction, and loved doing anything that someone told me I couldn’t do.
I lived in a rural area better known to some as “the country” and at the age of 14 is when my whole life changed. I was at Walmart with my mother and sister when we received word that 911 had been called for my dad.
He was at home with my brother-in-law working on a wood deck during the dog days of summer. As he became overwhelmed with the heat, he told my brother-in-law that he was going to go inside and take a quick shower to cool off.
After 15-20 minutes passed, my brother-in-law decided to go in and check up on him. He found him lying on the bed clutching his chest appearing very pale and diaphoretic (very sweaty). He was conscious, alert, and oriented although speaking came in fragmented sentences. Immediately, my brother-in-law contacted 911 and what we refer to in emergency services as a “cascade of events” started to unfold.
Imaginably so, the ride from Walmart to my house was like riding with Dale Earnhardt, but instead, my mom was “The Intimidator.”
As we pulled up in the driveway, we rushed in through the front door to the back bedroom finding my dad in the same condition as my brother-in-law had earlier described him.
As the 911 call continued, a knock at our door was heard and out of the shadows came a couple of guys with plain clothes on, driving regular vehicles, carrying portable radios and jump bags.
These two gentlemen quietly and professionally walked down the long hallway to the bedroom and began to ask a multitude of questions. As a kid, I stood back wondering where they came from and who they were.
One side of me was internally devastated not knowing if these were going to be the final moments of my hero or not.
Great, now I break the story up a little because as I relive this moment, I have found myself all teary-eyed again; or maybe there are just some bugs getting in my eyes or something. Lol.
Another reason why firefighters don’t share everything is that some of it can be very emotional and we have our own unique way of dealing with it. Happy BUG tears though!
One side of me was broken, but the other side of me was curious as I saw these guys pulling out various medical items from their bags, listening through stethoscopes, and even applying oxygen via non-rebreather mask. ( I won’t go there on this one and my emergency responders will know why)
Even 911 had enough trust in these two that they hung up the phone, so surely I knew they must have been saviors sent from God above to save my dad and all of us from literal heartache.
As they applied all these different items to him, it looked like their medical bag had an endless supply of items in it and I felt a certain level of confidence that they could fix anyone.
Still puzzled as to exactly WHAT THEY WERE and HOW THEY KNEW TO COME THERE, I walked back to the front door to look at their vehicles again to see if I could figure out exactly where in heaven they dropped out of.
They were plain-jane regular old cars, blending in with everything else scattered down the street, but they had something extra special that none of the others did.
In the dash was a flashing red rotating light drawing all the attention of a young kid. At that moment, I knew those two were extra special people and I thought they were undercover firefighters much like police officers in regular vehicles.
I walked back to the bedroom and I could hear one of the undercover firefighters say “You are going to be just fine!”
Sounding as though it came straight from the heavens and God himself, I took a huge sigh of relief and realized the good Lord above was going to leave my hero with us for a little longer.
The ambulance showed up and transported my dad to the local hospital. He did have a heart attack, but after quadruple bypass heart surgery and a little extra postop time, my hero was sent home and is still with us today doing as good as ever.
Some of you may wonder why I chose the title I did for this post
A Firefighters Hero
After that day, I joined my local volunteer fire department and enrolled in a junior firefighter program. I spent my entire summer between my junior and senior year in high school taking classes so I could be just like those two superheroes that responded.
For those of you that don’t know, I ended up making the fire service a career and I never ever forget my roots and where it all started.
Those two saviors that came from the darkness were volunteer firefighters who answered the call from their fire pagers and they forever changed my life. They were regular people who had full-time jobs and families who responded to people like my dad in their time of need.
In the midst of their personal lives and careers, they relentlessly attend classes for both fire and medical training so they can help people; much like my dad.
Not only do they brave the fire, but they also save people from the clutches of death during medical emergencies; much like my dad.
They act with selfless courage from the moment they ready up until the job is done so they can help people; much like my dad.
They do a lot of it for free or at a minimal cost taking away from their own time with loved ones so they can help people; much like my dad.
As a volunteer firefighter and professional firefighter, I am thankful they saved my hero and I will forever be indebted to those individuals and emergency services.
My dad has taught me more about life than anyone else I know and I am so very thankful for all of the wisdom and advice he has shared. If I can only emulate a fraction of the man he is, I will be more than most.
No matter how many great people I have ever met or will ever meet, they will all fall short in comparison to my dad. He was my true first hero and I am proud that another group or heroes saved him.