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There's no one more valuable than a mentor. I personally have many and cherish each as a dear friend! I hope they know what a huge difference they've made in my life and career as an artist and a firefighter. I'm sure each of us can name many who have shaped and molded us into who we are today. And I can think of no better repayment than to give the same gift of friendship, leadership, and guidance to another.

This editorial is a spin-off of an illustration I created a few years back titled "Pay It Forward". Though I always liked the concept, I was never, never, never pleased with the artwork (hey, I fuss over these things!). So, I took the opportunity to redraw the commentary with a slightly updated message and fresh new look.

If you wish to repay those who showed you the way, take someone under your wing and return the favor - it's the greatest gift of all! Oh, and take a moment to thank those mentors who showed you the way, too!


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Comment by Michael Staats on April 5, 2012 at 1:57pm

Right on Paul! I am who I am today because some really great mentors took me "under their wing" all those years ago. Now I make it a point every day to teach tradition, skill, honor, and safety to our new members as a way to try to live up to the memory of those great people who took the time for me.

Comment by Frank Viscuso on April 3, 2012 at 10:38pm

People rarely improve when they only have themselves to copy. When it comes to mentoring, remember that those who surround themselves with people who are smarter, more talented and just as driven then they are, profoundly increase their chances of success. Don’t ever reach a point in your career where you foolishly believe you don’t need a mentor of your own. Every day, remind yourself that you will not learn anything new by talking. If you are going to learn anything at all, it will be through asking the right questions to the right people, and listening.


For more on mentoring, check out my officer development section on


Comment by Mike Camelo Sr. on April 3, 2012 at 5:28pm

There is nothing more rewarding then teaching the "new dogs" old long as there safe. Teach them the ways we were fortunate enough to be taught........the tradition needs to be passed on from one generation to another

Comment by John K. Murphy on April 3, 2012 at 2:30pm

Great illustration. Hope we have not lost this "tradition" in our services.

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