Morristown, NJ had a thunder and lightening storm tonight and it poured for awhile. It reminded me of a fellow firefighter yesterday who shared with my husband and I the reason he became a firefighter. When he was a young boy, his home was struck by lightening.

People may wonder why I became a firefighter. I would like to share the reason why.

When I was 30 I lived in Sayville, New York, a small fishing town on the eastern end of Long Island. I tried to join the volunteer fire department there but was told since I had back problems I would not be able to keep up with the physical aspects of being a firefighter.

Five years later, our family moved about ten miles east to the town of Bellport, NY. Bellport was close to the Great South Bay, like Sayville, and we were tucked away on a cul de sac. We purchased our home from a volunteer firefighter, and there were about 10 volunteer firefighters that lived on our block. Can you imagine 10 volunteers on one block of only about 25 homes.

My mom had a serious stroke while we lived there, and I will never forget my frantic call to 911 and running out of my home and just screaming on my driveway. The rush of volunteer firefighters to my door was something I will never forget. They literally brought my mom back to life in my home. Even though that was some time ago, scenes like that can't easily be erased from your mind.

My mom pulled through, just barely, and had many many health problems relating to that stroke, including memory loss. The kind firefighters would stop by and see her and take the time to comfort my dad.

So, now at 46 years old and living in New Jersey, I decided to respond to the many signs I saw asking for volunteers through Morris Township, NJ. When we moved here last August it seemed all the signs awakened a long suppressed desire to do something I had wanted to do so long ago. I didn't care that I had some health issues and was older and a woman. I felt that God puts us in the right place at the right time.

Two of my children are really proud of me that I have taken up this cause. My daughter doesn't see to understand, but one day she will. Yes, it's hard to remember all the rules, directions, etc., but the sense of accomplishment and personal satisfaction doing something you wanted to do when you were much younger and couldn't is something everyone should experience.

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Comment by Capkurt on June 9, 2008 at 10:03pm
Way to step up and help your community! Hope everything is going well with the training. Aren't 17 Y/O's fun? Mine just graduated and she's off to college this fall.
Comment by Tim Meckler # 575 on June 9, 2008 at 8:34pm
Welcome to the best job in the world. The people you meet from all over the world will fill your heart with joy for the rest of you life. Everyone has something to bring to the table and you are no exception. I wish you the best in your years to come and the people you meet, also good luck with the 17 year old LOL Be safe and stay LOW
Comment by tyler cheesman on June 9, 2008 at 4:52pm
im always glad to see people joining the fire service. it gives me a nice warm feeling in my chest. because i know that for every person that joins i have another brother or sister in the firefighting world. and i would like to say that the fire service isnt for everybody and your 17 year old may never understand why we do the things we do. my girlfriend still doesnt understand why i joined the local fire dpt. and i dought she ever will.
Comment by Denise Imperiale on June 9, 2008 at 3:17pm
Thanks Matt! Now I just wish my truant 17 year old could do the same!
Comment by Matthew Cosgrove on June 9, 2008 at 1:14pm
I have always said that 90% of this job is the desire to do it. The other 10% is a painful mess of grunting and dealing with stuff that no one should ever have to see. But, thats what makes us such a close family. I love what I do and my hats off to anyone out there who has the desire do it. Good luck .
Comment by Denise Imperiale on June 9, 2008 at 7:56am
Thank you for your comment! I have to think that any volunteer organization would like to have members that actually want to participate. Have a great day and stay safe yourself.

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