Monday, April 26, 2004
quote du jour:
"And yet, what is bravery but the capacity to reject our fears, ignore and suppress them, then go on to do whatever it is we are afraid to do." -- L. Neil Smith

During 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.

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Copyright © 2004, Thomas Fletcher. All Rights Reserved.