I turned 45 this year and I got to wondering, when did I go from being the young eager kid who wanted to know everything I could about fire and rescue work, to the one that the young kids look to for answers to their questions. I don't really recall a point where I knew that I was no longer the young wide eyed kid, it just happened gradualy. I started learning more and eventualy there was someone asking me the same questions that I had asked. I went through FFI and FFII, the haz-mat, and driving courses, the ICS and instructor courses, and the next thing I knew I was a lieutenant, and the training officer. I still feel like that kid at times, like when I get to do interior firefighting, ( I am on a rual dept and we just don't get a chance to do much interior work as most of our residences are manufactured housing.)or when we get to work with the school kids, or we have an open house at the station. I also feel my age when I stop to think about the responsibility I have as an officer and the training officer. It hit me this past weekend when we did our quarterly live burn training. I felt the responsibility of making sure that the members of my dept., could safely fight fire and take care of each other in stressful situations. I don't know when it happened, but it did.

I am not complaining about the position I'm in, on the contrary I really enjoy it. I know that all my experience has led me to this point in my career and I even entertain thoughts of becoming a chief officer, something that kid never wanted to do. I know that there are others, senior firefighters, who feel this way and that there are kids who are just starting in the fire service that can't imagine getting to this point in their career, but it will happen and I'm here to say that on the whole........ It's a good thing.

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Comment by John Schander on May 11, 2009 at 12:06am
Reg, be glad that they're still invading, both my sons are grown up and out of the house. I've got one in Minnesota, and one in Myrtle Beach SC.
Comment by Wolfy Lang on May 10, 2009 at 9:38pm
It's hard thats for sure... having just turned 43, I still have the same drive and ambition I used to (heaven knows, they are STILL looking for a pager that dispenses Valium for me before I go to a call), but after the Fire Muster yesterday, my hands hurt, my legs hurt, back hurts.. you know how it goes.. look at the clock and figure out if its time for more Goody powders... All i can suggest is remember where you came from, remember how you used to be like, and make sure that the others teaching the young ones remember also...

Native Nations look to their Elders for guidance and respect, and I truly believe in our ... unique.. world, we do as well. Wear that grey in your hair proudly Sir, you and those like you have well earned it, and make sure that the young ones are taught not only how to stay alive and keep each other alive, but to do so with respect. For their fellow fire fighters, their Officers, and their Community.

Peace and Many Fair Journeys,
Comment by Reg Mathis on May 10, 2009 at 5:17pm
Hey John,

I know the feeling! And although you mention that it happened gradually, and I have to agree, it just seems like it happened overnight. It was a little depressing when I realized that the men who have invaded my house are my sons!

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