Wreaths are on the front of the trucks, fire line tape garlands the tree,and snow chains are stowed nearby. The holidays are here. But which family will you be celebrating with? For those who have the tour off,they will be able to enjoy their “home” family. They will be able to see the excitement in their kids’ eyes as they open presents, and will eat some amazing food in the company of their loved ones. Others will be on duty, providing safety and security for their respective communities and spending the Christmas holiday in turn-outs. However you are spending the holiday this year, remember the opposite family that you are not with.
Remember that the guys/gals at the firehouse are out and about, away from their family. One tradition I have instilled in my life is that I always stop by my local firehouse and bring them a pie for Christmas and Thanksgiving. Just a way to show that I appreciate them working hard to keep me and my family safe. But do we ever worry about ourselves?
However your holidays are spent this year, we all need time to take a break, and be with our families. This is our life, but there needs to be a way to recharge the batteries. Take some time to reflect and remember the sacrifices our spouses and children endure all year long while we are away at work. Remember how many events are missed, and how many times we wish we could “turn it off”. Not only for us, but mostly for them.
So for this year, think of the families that you will be spending them with. Make memories, get some much needed time to recharge the relationships that you have, both with your “at home” and “at work” families, and enjoy life. We only get one. This holiday season, let's also think of the families that will not be spending time with their firefighter. Let us all honor and respect those families whose firefighters did not return home after their Christmas tour of duty.
Over the last 20 years, these firefighters were lost in the line of duty on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Jeffrey Fields – Youngsville, NC (2013) Michael Chiapperini – West Webster, NY (2012) Tomasz Kaczowka – West Webster, NY (2012) Craig Starr – Plymouth, UT (2009) John Stoudt – Summit Hill, PA (2004) Shane Brown – Mansfield, LA (2003) David Butler – Spring Branch, TX (2001) Charles Lauber – Smithtown, NY (2000) Lionel Hoffer – Milwaukee, WI (1994)
Stay safe everyone.