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     Call it good manners or the Golden Rule, it is simply polite to return a favor or help someone in turn who has helped you.  This rule applies to the fire service as a community as much as any one individual.  Throughout our careers we all  experience the many benefits that make the fire service the unique brother/sisterhood that creates lifelong bonds, trains and develops us from recruit to retirement, and preserves the ideals that guide us through good fortune and adversity.   As the recipient of years of fire service wisdom, culture, and fortitude we must be mindful of our continuing responsibility to return the favor.  We all owe the fire service as an institution, our department, and our fellow firefighters the favor of contributing to the collective spirit, knowledge, and culture in the vocation we share.   

     This contribution will vary with the individual and mature along with the firefighter.  Each member must find at least one niche at any given time to which they can contribute.  All firefighters regardless of rank should be students of the fire service commiserate with their abilities and with the goal of enhancing their skills.  Senior members must take seriously their responsibility to pass on the traditions and standards of their firehouse.  Newer firefighters must be eager to listen, quick to engage, and unafraid to work for the betterment of the fire service.  All firefighters should appreciate the tradition, reputation, and ethics that represent the best of the fire service we have inherited based on the sacrifice of those who have preceded us.  We must work each day to sharpen our skills, operate more efficiently, exhibit the highest professional standards, and return home safely at the end of each shift.    When each firefighter contributes his/her best efforts each of our departments and the fire service as a whole will not only maintain our exceptional performance, we will enhance our skill and improve the safety of our members as well as the citizens we protect.

     Each firefighter should begin with a personal goal of working on an objective to better themselves, their unit, their department, and the fire service as a whole.  Each personal goal achieved will have a cumulative effect resulting in the betterment of all firefighters.  These personal goals may start small; learning new survival techniques, studying SOPs, or attending a voluntary training class.  Company and chief officers should foster a culture under their supervision that allows for individual growth, as well as a contribution of ideas for progress within a company, battalion, or department. 

     The fire service and our fellow firefighters have made us who we are today.  What will we do to return the favor?      

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