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I took some time to visit a friend who is recuperating from surgery. This friend is a longtime friend, someone who is twenty + years my senior and someone whom I met as a result of joining a volunteer fire department, a very long time ago. I consider this friend a mentor and someone who helped me grow as a person and as a firefighter. And I told him today that he was an important part of my growing up. We sat and talked for about an hour and a half, along with a family member, who was also visiting. We covered subjects like “the old neighborhood”, generational gaps, the fire department, work, hard work ethic, our children and grandchildren and we talked about respect. The type of respect we had back then, the respect we have now and the lack of respect, especially what is commonly seen on the evening news. Unfortunately it has been some time since we have seen and talked with one another, more unfortunate that the visit occurred in a medical facility. Fortunately, the visit made each of our days. I’d like to think so anyway, as we hugged and my friend said “I’m so glad you came to visit, this place is boring!”

And so later in the day, I was working on a new presentation. It’s one that I hope to deliver in the near future. In doing so, I recalled back to 1995, something that I had learned at a seminar, but I could not exactly remember the last name of the person who presented the topic. I wanted to give him full credit and ask for permission to use and reference his material. I was met with a small dilemma. Two people came to mind, both had the same first name. (Don’t you hate when that happens?) Both of these people are recognized national speakers and instructors in the fire service. Well I made a phone call to the right person and he took my call and I was right with choosing him first and we shared a laugh and recalled some of that presentation. We made each others' day as well. For me, I rarely get the opportunity to discuss anything with someone who used his pen to write material in many firefighting text books and someone who is a national speaker. He said I made his day for remembering him and that presentation that took place almost twenty years ago. In the same way that my friend influenced my growing up, so did this fire service leader and his presentation.  I’m now hoping that my presentation will be that much better because of what we discussed and from what he shared with me. What will even be better than that is if he revives that 35mm presentation to digital form, because it still applies today.

If you have the chance or better yet, make the opportunity to get back in touch with the people who influenced you, your life or perhaps, your career. Let them know that the influential or perhaps educational spark they created in your cranium, now burns brightly within you and that you are grateful for it. They will appreciate it and so will you. Peace.

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