The great contradiction of the fire service

The fire service is one marked with a long tradition of service, sacrifice, teamwork, and compassion. Many departments across our country are volunteer organizations that operate with little funding/support from the community or tax base that they protect. Firefighters, whether paid or volunteer, love what they do. It is calling to most and can at times be one of the most rewarding pursuit. Many firefighters sacrifice themselves daily (time, money, and dedication) so that their community will be protected.

What then would you say is contradictory about what we do? I have had a great burden laying heavy on my heart for a number of years now. This burden is this: I see that we will lay our lives down for someone else s life or property but we will not overcome our problems with our own co-workers. It is a common theme I see everywhere you go. The station will have the majority that gets along well but inevitably there will be one or two individuals that they wouldn’t stop to help if their life depended on it.

Why is this? Where have we gone wrong? Our we merely figuratively living out this profession but if someone calls us out, we would lose the courage of our convictions? I compare this to my own spiritual walk as a Christian. I heard it said that we should all carry a sign over our head that says “Under Construction”. We tend to forget where we came from and lose all compassion/sympathy for any behavior that we refuse to tolerate any more. T.D. Jakes said “Just because you graduated doesn’t mean you get to burn down the school”.

My friends, if we are to honor the calling we have answered we must follow it with no exceptions. This applies to your family first, your co-workers second, and the citizens you serve third. You are someone’s only hope and that someone may be the firefighter who sits next to you. What are you doing to save their life?

Keep up the good work & take care of one another,

Andy J. Starnes

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