It's been almost 10 years that I have been in the Fire Service.
I was sworn in to the LVFD at 8PM on November 8, 1999. I was 19 and although I was the daughter of a fireman and grew up there I truly and honestly had no clue what I was getting myself into.
I wanted to be an EMT, that much I knew. Other than that I just wanted to be part of something that was bigger than myself and to find something I was good at.
What the hell did I know at 19?
I can now tell you that I DIDN'T KNOW ANYTHING about life. I didn't know how to be comforting until I held a person's hand as we were enroute to the hospital while they were having a heart attack at 3am. I didn't know how to make a difference until we picked up an elderly man who had been lying on the floor for 2 days and nights after falling and was unable to get up. I didn't know how to be reassuring until I had to treat an injured child after an auto accident and her mother was crying and I had to tell her that her daughter was going to be ok. I didn't know how to be humble until September 11, 2001 when I lost several friends, went to a dozen funerals in class A's and realized that no matter how far apart we are, everyone in the fire/EMS community is connected by some greater power.
I have a father and a great uncle in the fire service, a grandfather who was before he retired, a cousin who was in FDNY EMS and almost lost her life...and me...10 years in, 29 years old, an AMT and a Lieutenant.
I don't mind getting out of bed at 2am to take someone to the hospital or to see why an alarm is ringing. I don't mind eating cold food because my pager activated in the middle of dinner. I love my extended family and the proud feeling I get marching down the street in the middle of town during a parade and having spectators applaud for me and your comrades.
It's just my way of life.
The way it's always been and the way I hope it will be in the future. Nobody really understands that feeling better than the people that you serve with everyday.
I want my future children to grow up with the love, support, and protection that comes from being a part of that environment. I want them to be selfless and loving, generous and happy, caring and willing to help...no matter what. I have seen a lot of bad things happen to people...I have seen a lot of people do stupid things...but I know that I have also made a difference in a few lives and that to me is the ultimate reward.
It's just my way of life...one that only a special type will understand.
Be safe my sisters and brothers and remember that this blueprint is only drawn for us because they know we can handle it.
Signing Off 13:47