The stage is set. In the audience are family members, friends and mentors patiently watching you on stage for your pinning ceremony. There are few milestones in life that are held in such high regard. The moment when you find the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and marry to become your significant other. The birth of a child is also a moment that you will truly treasure and never ever forget. And this day, when your dream career profession came true and you were pinned with the badge of a public servant.
The oath of a public servant is an oath of dedication to a lifetime of customer service. Remember this moment when you made the commitment to serving your community. The work of a public servant is never ending in the pursuit of service. At the end of every call is an opportunity to positively engage members of our community. There is no greater reward than a lifetime of service.
My challenge is for you to find an inspiring mentor in this profession. Allow yourself the opportunity to become his or her mentee. Develop into the firefighter and leader that you desire to become. Accept constructive criticism in stride and strive to become a better person daily. Respect their wisdom with grace and listen to their feedback with enthusiasm. Leaders lead by effectively developing future leaders from within their ranks.
The role of every firefighter should be to help the future firefighter receive their dream career position. Pay it forward and give back daily to the future of the fire service. Find those golden opportunities to inspire the members of your community to also become future public servants. The future of our profession requires all of us to actively engage these future members in a positive and meaningful way.
Your experiences throughout your career are yours and yours alone to mold. Be sure to make the most out of each experience to elevate your future success. As a public servant, it is up to you to continue this lifetime commitment of service beyond self. The future of the fire service rests firmly on your shoulders.
The culture of the fire service is currently in the state of a leadership vacuum. The highly experienced and knowledgeable senior members of our organization have reached the twilights of their careers. There is a current demand for the future of our organization to make the commitment of pursuing continuous positive improvement.
Now more than ever the future of our profession requires the future leaders of tomorrow to start leading throughout probation and beyond.
Photos Courtesy of Author's Family.
Chris Baker has over 10 years of experience in volunteer, combination and career fire departments in California. Currently, he serves as a Fire Captain with the River Delta Fire District and Public Information Officer for the Rio Vista Fire Department. Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command Company Officer. He is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator. Chris is a Fire Science Instructor in the California Community College System. He is a member and educator with the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. Chris is an Advocate for the Everyone Goes Home Program through the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation.
You can contact Chris through his website: instructorchrisbaker.com
or by email: info@Instructorchrisbaker.com
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