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COMING HOME

The World War II veteran was coming home. As he walked over a rise near his family home, one of his sisters saw him and yelled out “Harley is home.” The entire family rushed out to meet him. Harley recalled his Father’s tearful words “maybe now we can learn to sleep again.”  

The unrehearsed words of Harley’s Father reminded me of my Father and how he too said so much with so few words, and how their words caused me to feel what they were feeling.

I remembered my Father’s words when he found out that I was heading in the wrong direction after the loss of my Sister and he said “Don’t do what you are thinking about doing – your Mother and I couldn’t stand to lose another child.” I understood the deep meaning of those words again when I was injured at a house fire and I asked my Mother if Dad had come with her to the hospital and she replied “He couldn’t come.”

The Fire Service needs Dads and Moms as leaders who lead, who motivate, who inspire with their words and their actions and who understand the meaning of coming home.  

The shameful experiment that brought pacifiers into the service has failed. This is evidenced by daily accounts of declining fire ground performance, self over service, poor behavior by members and the taking of a knee mentality toward tradition, training, history, teamwork and brotherhood; the strong, proud and lasting cornerstones of the Fire Service.

Firefighters line of duty deaths remain consistent and seem to lack creativity, since we kill one another the same old ways that we have for hundreds of years. We fall off of things, things fall on us, our horses go too fast and slip on wet cobblestones and we crash, our team doesn’t stay together or we camp out too long on vented roofs, we fail to block with apparatus and we fail to buckle up and take advantage of apparatus that is designed, at great cost, to save us who have great value. Most of us don’t die making a push or putting it on the line for another, we die from complacency. Are we no longer our brother’s keeper?

If you are going to call yourself a Leader – then lead. Show some creativity with more Coming Home drills and focus training on LODD reports that detail our failures and how not to become a statistic. Use fresh meat by conducting “post incidents in the alley” – every time. Ask “what did you learn” questions in order to build thinkers – no whine and cheese.

Coming Home – it’s for those who serve while we serve others. It’s our loved one who answers the late night call or wishes above all they didn’t have to answer the doorbell. It’s explaining the unexplainable to the little ones who won’t again see you walk over the rise and run out to greet you.

“Don’t do what you are thinking of doing.”

“Maybe now we can learn to sleep again.”

Do you care enough to buckle your children in?

Every fire is at your Grandparents house – fight accordingly.

“I can’t fix gone.”

Are your drills meaningful and memorable? “Make em laugh then make em cry.”

“Don’t slack on me again Slick.”

Dying from natural causes makes sense and doesn’t violate any rules.

Thanks for reading, caring and sharing and Coming Home.

Have a great day – it’s a GREAT day for it.

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