This Memorial Day brings home the realization that many of us in the fire service are veterans of the military and I thank you for that service.
You bring a new commitment and experience to your communities, again in uniform, with many of the traits you learned during your military service - honor, courage, selfless sacrifice's, commitment and duty.
It is important to remember while serving your community you must bring those hard earned traits to your department teaching the younger member of the fire service creating a bond between you and them that will live forever.
Today our nation remains at war with individuals who wish to destroy our way of life. In a recent conference I attended in West Virginia, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman stated, as first responders we need to be prepared for the possibility that an attack by either domestic or foreign terrorists on soft targets (schools, shopping malls, movie theaters) will test the resolve of the fire, police and emergency services and to meet that challenge, your department needs to be prepared for that eventuality both physically and mentally. He indicated we need to train with the police and the local medical community to provide a coordinated response to these acts of terrorism saving most but realizing probably not all.
Who would think that when you joined your department you would respond to acts of terrorism? We thought fire, EMS, the sick and injured and motor vehicle accidents were a general staple of our shifts or calls for assistance. We also have to remember our service, like the military, is seeing an unprecedented number of suicides of our firefighters. As firefighters we need to take care of our own.
We need to watch out for each other, have your partners back, be kind to each other, be physically and mentally prepared for all eventualities and live by those important traits of: honor, courage, selfless sacrifice's, commitment and duty.
Most of all thank a veteran this week and remember what they have done for our country and continue to do for our communities.
Welcome home veterans and thank you for your service.
John K. Murphy HM2 USN/USMC
Deputy Fire Chief (Ret)