Politicians and administrators can take funding, pay, positions and pensions, but we own our pride, purpose and the public's trust.
The tide of political disrespect, blame and distrust of public servants only seems to ebb when flags are lowered, badges draped and processions pass through their towns.
The supreme sacrifices we sometimes make leave our children, our spouses and our homes empty so that you may continue to place the faith in your fire department that your children, your spouses and your homes will be protected.
We do this not for glory, for compensation, or even acknowledgement. We do this because it is what we love, our calling and because the level of commitment and focus we put forth is what we would want for our children, our spouses and our homes.
When the summer fire season is behind us, the memorials of West and Houston Texas or Prescott Arizona are programs on your shelf or long lost posts on your news feed. When you stand in the voting booth this November I hope a whisper of one of our fallen brothers, the face of one of their children, the thought of their spouses or the empty seat at their Thanksgiving table may make you rethink the true value of a tax increase to support more staffing, equipment or training for your fire department.
We are your firefighters, we don't ask you for much, but we do ask that you never forget that we leave our families and homes to go on shift as a career firefighter or answer the pager as a volunteer to respond to yours, we do so knowing that the decision is to provide you all a chance at a future with yours above guaranteeing a future with ours.
John 5:13 - "No one has greater love than this, that one should lay down his life for his friends."
You are our friends now knowing that 19 firefighters were laid to rest in Arizona this week leaving behind 11 children, 10 widows, 3 fiancés and 3 unborn. Will you be our friends in town councils, ballot booths and rallies this fall when our fate may also be determined?