my shift last Wednesday, we were dispatched to a residence for a service
call. The homeowner believed that one particular smoke detector was beeping
every few minutes and she couldn't make it stop.
It took a bit of detective work, be we determined that every detector in
the house was beeping together because they were all linked. That was why
the problem was so annoying for the homeowner. Secondly, we discovered that
an open battery door on one detector was causing the system to sound what
was essentially a trouble alarm.
While we were sleuthing, the homeowner's eight-year-old son said that he
had a couple of questions for us. First, he asked us if we were afraid of
fire. His question is fairly common among young people and we gave our standard
answer -- we aren't afraid of fire but we respect it.
The second question stunned me. He asked, "how are you so brave?"
I'm just a guy. I try to live life the best I can, but it's a struggle. I
make mistakes. I don't always make the smart choices. Granted, I've got a
pretty cool job... But, like I say, I'm just a guy. Yet, here was this boy
who saw us as much more. I wasn't Thomas Fletcher, the guy who struggles
with love and what life is all about... I was The Fire Department.
I don't remember how we answered his bravery question because there is no
good answer to it. We just do our job -- most of us don't consider it being
brave. We then took him outside and gave him a tour of the engine. He's about
13 years too young, but I think he was ready to go back to the station with
us and work a shift. He seemed excited about everything that had to do with
us and our engine.
I enjoy runs like that. Granted, there was no great drama. No one's life
was at stake. Yet, we were the highlight of that kid's night. I'm glad to
be a firefighter every day... but sometimes, you begin to take things for
granted. That kid was a reminder for me. I'm proud to be a firefighter and
am very blessed to get to be one.