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My dad was a firefighter. He'd go to work everyday and say wish me luck. Then he wouldn't come home til sometime the next day, but the thing that bothered me the most is when people would say a firefighters job is easy. He eats, sleeps, and plays, and sometimes won't fight a fire for days. When I first heard these words I was too young to understand but I knew when people were in trouble my dad was there to lend a hand. Then my father went to work one day and kissed us all goodbye. Later that day my brother James and I got to hang out at the station like we occasionally did. I remember James and I were watching The Simpsons when our dad had to leave for a call. My father lost his life that night due to a flashover. I sat there wondering why he would give his life for someone he did not know, but now I truly realize the greatest gift a man can give is to lay his life upon the line so that someone else may live. This also goes for my brother James of The United States Marine Corp. and my cousin Charles of The United States Air Force who layed down their lives as well overseas. FF Cossey 1965-1998. James Cossey 1984-2004. Charles Skellinger 1986-2008.

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Comment by Ben Fleagle on March 20, 2009 at 4:39pm
Hey Kid,

Been thinking about this post for some time, and since I need to write something about Brotherhood in the next few weeks for a speech, I thought I would read it again. So many people read these posts, but never leave comments. You wonder sometimes if anyone is listening.

So, for the sake of this beloved Brotherhood, I would like to let you know, we're here. Just call. You have sacrificed far more than most firefighters. Beware of burning up in a blaze of intensity. You'll be alright.

Comment by Sean Stumbaugh on January 29, 2009 at 9:15pm
WOW. Some families give more than others. This breaks my heart, but at the same time makes me smile. How can you persue this career when you lost so much at such a young age? Your Dad and I are the same age. I have kids a little younger than you. I know in the back of their minds they fear what you have lived. All I can say is that I'm proud of you for hanging in there, and I don't even know you.

Thanks for requesting me to be your friend, I look forward to seeing you achieve your dreams. This is a big family, and sometimes we treat each other like family (not very well), but for the most part we all help and support each other.

I see that you do a lot of risky sports. I don't say dangerous because you seem to have awareness of the risks involved. One thing you can do for me; as a firefighter be a risk manager. Only risk yourself when there is something salvageable to risk yourself for. Don't let yourself, or your friends, risk your lives for property. Property is usually insured and can be rebuilt or replaced. You can not be replaced. There is only one of you and once you're gone we can't get you back. If someone doesn't insure there property then it was useless to begin with. Always approach a risky situation with this in mind. Be a risk manager, and only risk when another saveable life is at stake. Your generation needs to be the first to stop the 100 line of duty deaths we face. My generation is begining to get it, yours will be the one to finish the job!

Take care and keep us posted on how things go!

Chief Stumbaugh (Sean)

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