It was with great sadness that I received news that my friend Harvey Eisner had passed away. I met Harvey years ago and he had asked me to do some writing and teaching with Firehouse. I told him that I didn’t feel it would be the right thing for me to do since I was a sitting member of the Fire Engineering Editorial Advisory Board, FDIC Training Coordinator etc…. He understood completely and although I thought that he would probably not engage me in the same level of conversation that we had enjoyed previously, I was wrong. Harvey would call just to check on things down south and see how the department was doing. I would see Harvey from time to time at various conferences or training. Most recently I would see him in Chicago at UL as part of the research panel. Each time our conversations spanned solving the many fire service problems from leadership to protective clothing and beyond.
I look back at Harvey the man and I see a person who always respected everyone for who they were. He was confident and didn’t need to play games or run any power plays. He was never pretending to be something that he wasn’t. He was Harvey. As a fan of originals, I loved Harvey for who he was. Harvey survived a very long time in the business despite mergers, acquisitions, and host of other adversities by just being Harvey. If you had a passion for the job then you had a common thread with Harvey and he didn’t care who you were with or where you were from. Harvey lived and believed in the brotherhood.
I hope we all realize that how we treat each other in the fire service is essentially who we are. When all the distractions (of which there are many) are removed who out there stands shoulder to shoulder with their brothers no matter what. Who has character and who is using the character and reputation of others to hide out and wait for the next opportunity to pounce at a chance to get ahead? Harvey was definitely not a part of the “me” generation. He was a part of the “service” generation, the “brotherhood” generation and will be tremendously missed.
I think we could all be a little more like Harvey. Farwell my friend and thank you for a job well done!