Often times, I will get an idea for a blog from something that I have heard or read. At the very least, it will give me pause to ponder some of the more obscure issues of the day and to my own bewilderment, wonder why it isn’t a more compelling story.
The other morning, as I was driving into work, I heard on the radio that many who were donating to food pantries last year at this time, were CLIENTS of those same food pantries THIS year. Those who were giving were now getting, so to speak.
I started thinking about all of the stories that I had heard and read about cities laying off firefighters and it caused me to wonder: how many were firefighters LAST year that are not firefighters THIS year, due to budget cuts?
If they are not working as firefighters, then are they working at all or are they unable to find suitable employment?
Are their fire departments lending them the support that they need, as they struggle with the emotional and financial strains of not working in their dream job?
I am certain that there are many departments out there who are making sure that their brothers and sisters are getting the support that they need, but I also know that there are many who are not; especially in the smaller urban or mostly rural fire departments.
Are there more volunteer firefighters who have more time to volunteer because they have lost their full time job?
This has been an issue in the past in the volunteer service; with members moving out of the community to seek employment elsewhere, but was anything done to make those ties to the community stronger?
I don’t want to be a buzz kill this holiday season, but many of us take the opportunity at this time of the year to give thanks for what WE have.
We need to give our out-of-work brothers and sisters reasons to be thankful, because it can’t possibly feel that way to them as they peer over the pile of bills at an uncertain future.
I was laid off for a one-year stretch back in the early 80s; also a time of economic uncertainty. House payment, property taxes, utility bills, car payments, food, school fees and on and on made me wonder if our predicament would ever get better.
But I also knew that, if I stopped believing that it WOULD get better; my life would implode and take those around me with me.
No; my impatience and my pride would not allow me to wait for someone or something to get me out. I had to do it, but I had to have the support of my loves ones to do so. I did not/would not take hand-outs, though they were offered.
What I remember most from those early days is the kindness extended by family and friends. We were invited to someone’s house for a dinner, cook out and then to play cards or board games and enjoy a social setting that didn’t cost us a dime!
At Christmas time, we got gift certificates to grocery stores and restaurants. Relatives would watch our son and we would return the favor. Doing things in this manner was wonderful for my pride and self-esteem.
So; if you haven’t already made contact with your laid off brothers and sisters, take the time now to do so.
I’m sure that it will brighten their holiday, lift their spirits and strengthen their resolve to work through these uncertain times.
Have a safe and happy holiday season.
The opinions and views expressed are those of the article’s author, Art Goodrich, who is also known as ChiefReason. They do not reflect the opinions and views of any professional organizations that the author belongs to, fireengineering.com, Fire Engineering Magazine, PennWell Corporation or his dog, Chopper.