The job is not always peaches and cream. Sometimes we need help to remind us that fighting fire is the most rewarding job in the world. By nature, I am the type of person that needs reminders to stay on track and get back to the basics of the job. Below are some of the simple items I have at work to help keep me grounded during the tough times:
Like many fathers in the firehouse, I have a family photo of my wife and three kids in my locker. Often times they are the first smiling faces I see in the morning when getting on shift. They set the tone to work hard and get home safe.
Next to that photo is a Father’s Day
card my 5-year old daughter made at school last year. A stick figure drawing of me with, “He’s a great guy. He’s a firefighter.” No matter how bad my day is going, this card hits the reset button and reminds me that I have the best job in the world and my kids view me as their hero. What more could a man want in life?
The inside of my helmet has “ST3”stenciled in it as another reminder of my kids (named Stormy, Stiles and Stone). Any question of whether I should tighten up my chinstrap on a call is quickly answered when I see this marking.
I wear a radio strap given to me by my older brother. Eric is a 20-year veteran of the fire service and a recent graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer program. Any time I have personal or professional questions to ask I turn to him for advice.
The strap still has his initials “ER” marked on it. He went to bad calls and made life-changing decisions with it around his shoulder. His initials remind me that I am cut from the same mold as he is and any tough call is manageable.
My father gave me his old Federal Fire Department belt buckle when I graduated from recruit school. He didn’t think much more of this gesture than, “I’m not going to use it now that I am retired. You might as well make use of it.” To this day, I don’t think he is aware of just how much this belt buckle means to me.
The second “F” in “FFD” has long since fell off and the buckle has seen better days but it has survived on the job since the 1980’s. This buckle is a direct link to my father and his generation of old school, smoke-eating firefighters.
Key To Remember
Sometimes the little things in life have the most lasting impact. We should use any opportunity to be the best version of ourselves each day. There is no magic recipe that inspires us to get motivated and do the right thing, however, we do have empty space on our locker door.
Now the most important question:
Who’s picture is in your locker? Let me know in the comments.