I have been taking my readers through my fire service journey, but I feel like I need to step back and share some life-changing or life-altering moments in my life. I am going to give you a brief snapshot of my life-journey.
1976 – I became a Christian and a volunteer firefighter at Fire Station No.1
1977 – I was voted volunteer firefighter of the year at Station No.1
1978 – I graduated from Thomas Dale
1981 – I enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard
1983 – I became a husband, married to the most amazing woman
1985 – I left the U.S. Coast Guard and was hired by Chesterfield Fire & EMS
1988 – I became a father of a wonderful son
1991 – My grandfather died and I became a paramedic
1995 – I was voted career firefighter of the year and ran a half marathon
1996 – I got promoted to lieutenant and then my father died
I was at Engine and Medic 15 when I got promoted. In fact, I was a few days away from being transferred to Medflight, which I thought was to be my dream assignment. Don’t get me wrong, I really wanted a chance to serve on Medflight, but the Lord had other plans for my life. After being promoted, I was assigned to Engine 2 (then the double deuce/Unit 22). Just like Medic 8, it was a great training ground for a new medic, Engine 2 was a great training ground for a new lieutenant. It seemed as though our shift went to a structure fire every day that we came to work. Station 2 was also the self-contained breathing apparatus repair station and the station that air utility responded from. It was because of all of this that my days were short at No. 2, since I was not a mask repair technician.
From No. 2, I was transferred to Fire Station No. 1 in Chester; I was home. Engine 1 (then Unit 13 and what we called the war wagon) was a great assignment for me. We were busy, I had a great crew and life was good. Incidentally, I started writing for the Chester Village News in 1998, from their first published paper to the present. Chester was a great place to be an engine lieutenant. Our shift would receive six rookies in eight years, which made Engine 1 a constant training ground. I could have retired from Engine 1, but again, the Lord and the fire department had other plans. On a day that I will never forget, in 2004, Chief Sacra walked into Station 1, took me in the office and told me that I was on a short list for the position of Public Information Officer/Community Programs Coordinator. The next article will tell about the roller coaster that I got on when I went to day work.