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I suppose this post could be considered a part-2 to my cartoon published last week regarding apathetic leaders pushing loyal people out the door. This week I want to discuss firefighters who are in a leadership role who constantly belittle, berate, and abuse newer firefighters - you know, the lifeblood and future of the fire service. Perhaps I'm just naive, but I always thought the role of a veteran firefighter or officer was to make sure the younger ones were mentally and physically ready to get off the bench and into the game when their numbers were called. Silly cartoonist - what do I know.

I've seen this behavior too many times, and quite frankly, I'm sick of it! What do people get out of mistreating others anyway? Self-gratification? An ego boost? Kicks? Enough! I'm not talking about the brotherhood building lighthearted razzing that happens around the kitchen table, but the character killing, morale busting, undignified behavior of a few that effects so many. When I was growing up we called them bullies, unfortunately today they are called sir!

My friend Capt. Mark vonAppen has a saying, "Treat people right." Simple enough, eh? But nearly impossible for some to adopt - there's a reason his class is so popular and relevant. It all comes down to this, nobody signed up to be your personal whip, and you have no earthly right to treat anybody with anything less than respect. So, get off your self-righteous bully trip, or get on out the back door. The fire service needs leaders, not tyrants!

STAY FIRE UP, and remember what your mama always said, "treat people the way you wish to be treated."

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