Firefighters: they’re the iconic men and women that make a difference in our community through simple things such as educating children and community leaders on fire safety to rescuing someone from a burning building. Despite all the heroism, they’re people just like you and me. They shop in the same grocery stores and walk the same streets. They have families to take care of and kids they have to spend lots of money on. . . Between saving lives and keeping up with a family, firefighters really have their hands full. Somehow, they’re always able to pull it off.
Being related to a firefighter is definitely an honor. Knowing that your family member puts their life on the line for the people in their community is a pretty cool thing when you stop to think about it. When you get the opportunity to go to the events and award ceremonies held and hear the incredible stories of the things these men and women accomplish on a daily basis, it makes you realize how much they care about the people in their community- people they don’t even know. Their parents take pride in knowing they raised such a selfless child. Their children look up to them in adoration, hoping that one day they can be just as great.
Being the child of a firefighter comes with its many perks- free cook outs with awesome food, bragging rights in front of your friends about how hardcore your parent is, and opportunities to see your parent receive special recognition from some pretty important people. I have been a firefighter’s daughter for 11½ years now. From the beginning, I loved the scheduling- my dad was home for two days straight and only gone for one! I got to do things and go places that most kids didn’t because he had a different schedule and more open time than most parents. He would bring me to his station, give me a tour, let me sit in the big truck, and feed me at the end of it all. I loved visiting him.
Of course, whenever there’s a positive side, there’s often a negative one. Because my dad worked every third day, he sometimes missed getting to spend the holidays at home: birthdays, Easter, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc. (but luckily never Christmas. We love that one too much). My mom was very supportive when it came time to these conflicts. She always made it a point to bring me to whichever station he happened to be at so I could see him. He always did a great job at making sure we still celebrated on a different day and in an even cooler way. Being a firefighter and a parent takes a lot of time and effort, and my dad never fails to do what it takes to make the special moments memorable.
Overall, being related to a firefighter is a pretty neat thing. I’ve never once wished my dad had a different job, even when he was gone for those 24 hour periods, because I knew he would be home for the next 48.
Now my dad works at PBCFR Headquarters with normal weekday hours. He no longer has a 24 hour shift and he no longer is home for the next 48 hours afterwards, but he’s home every night and all weekend. Because I grew up with him at a station, it’s taken some getting used to, but I love getting to come home to his home cooked meals and big hugs every night. No matter what position my dad has, he always makes others a priority, especially his family.
Firefighters are a special group of people. They give to everyone without any thought for their own needs. The best part of being related to a firefighter is being able to see his heart for others. People on the outside see the great moments when firefighters spring into action and do something amazing! Relatives get to see the way that firefighter prepared for the job by going to school, working out, staying in shape, and continuing his or her education for years. However, the most significant part of a firefighter’s life is how they deal with the job. Firefighters see things that others don’t see, and they are affected by circumstances and incidents that most would never be able to imagine. My dad says that firefighters see things that can’t be “unseen”. That’s when they become the real heroes. Firefighters take care of people when they are going through their most difficult circumstances no matter what the cost.
They carry these scenes with them the rest of their lives. My dad says that is the most significant issue that firefighters face. I know that because of the things he sees, he often comes home and gives extra hugs and focuses on making more time for our family. Firefighters need their families to help them through these moments, and often the family members aren’t even aware that their loved one has experienced a difficult call.
I want all firefighter families to know you are a huge encouragement to your firefighter, and you can help see them through the most difficult incidents any human can imagine. Our firefighters are not heroes simply because of their willingness to stare death in the face and run toward danger when everyone else is running away. They are heroes because of their willingness to see the “unseen” and continue doing their job in spite of those difficulties. I am the daughter of one of those heroes, and I’m proud of that. He is just one of many who do the unimaginable for anyone regardless of the circumstance. Thank you, firefighters, for your service.