Some time ago...15 years ago to be exact, I was elected to my first position as a volunteer chief officer! I was proud and honored to say the least. I thought I was ready, having spent several hundreds of hours in classes at my young age, but that was just the start.
Unfortunately, my keys to the office, white helmet, and badges were thrown at me. Now, I had a great Chief...but the problem was, he worked 7 days a week and traveled all the time.
I was left to fend for myself, learning the management system, writing reports, adapting to minimum daytime staffing levels, and ensuring the community was taken care of everyday.
People in our business seem to think they know everything about everything, without experiencing the difficulties and heartaches of the job...before gaining the experience. I DID...AND I ADMIT IT! We take the small things for granted, not knowing what lies ahead.
This job has been a lifelong experience, and I continue to find myself growing each and every day. I can truly say that I have reached levels in the fire service that many dream about. With that being said, you have to go after what is important to you. But...I had to do it on my own! It would have been much easier, had I been accompanied with a checklist of learning tools.
For those of you who are "Wearing the White Helmet" today, please do yourself, your organization, and your community a favor...BE A MENTOR. Show the next generation the ins and outs of the business, the job, and what it takes to operate effectively and efficiently. Without a quality mentor, it will be a struggle for the next group of leaders.
Fostering our next generation is a must. If we take a back seat to mentoring the future fire service leaders, what will the fire service be in the next 10 years?
A MENTOR IS PRICELESS...AND VALUABLE!!!