O n November 1, 2010, I retired from a great organization, Chesterfield Fire & EMS. While I still serve as a fire department chaplain and a member of the peer support team, I no longer climb on an engine or ladder truck every third day. Many have asked, do you miss it? In all honesty, I knew that it was time to leave when I left. I worked right up to the day that I retired because I truly enjoyed what God had blessed me to do for 34 total years. My final assignment was Truck 12, A-shift, in Ettrick.
Interestingly enough, I was at a Fall Festival last night with family and friends. Nearing the end of our time there, one of our church members came and told me about a person lying on the ground in the parking lot. She told me, as we walked to the person, that someone had called an ambulance. As I walked up, a person was telling what had happened, moments before the medical event occurred. I then heard someone state what this was and I guess that I could not control myself when I said that that was not occurring. I was speaking about that moment, but a male nurse quickly told me that I was not there when this started and that it was what they said it was. Knowing that the patient was in good hands, I walked away stating that the ambulance crew would arrive soon and figure things out. The nurse was right about the fact that I was not there at the beginning and the best thing that I could have done was kept my mouth shut. I enjoyed my opportunity to be an
Advanced Life Support provider for 22 of my 25 salaried years, but last night reminded me of one of the reasons that I did not always enjoy my EMS role.
Like many other things, the fire service is a calling. The greatest times over my years were with the fantastic people that I had the privilege of serving with. Whether it was enjoying a great meal by one of the many fire department chefs or the practical jokes that were done even into the middle of the night, there was great joy serving with these people. I worked with some really talented firefighters and medics. As a lieutenant on an engine or a ladder truck, my job was easy thanks to the innovative and motivated people that I got to ride with. Thankfully, that tradition continues, as new generations of firefighters ride a fleet of apparatus that require special training just to drive them.
The years seem to pass faster and faster. I had a rocky start back in the mid to late ‘70s. I squandered my early opportunity to obtain a college education. I was a part-time fire and EMS dispatcher when we used to dispatch from the old jail building. In 1981, I entered the US Coast Guard, where I spent four great years, married my wife, and grew up quite a bit. In 1985, I returned to dispatching until I got hired as a firefighter. In 1988, I became a father to a great son. In 1996, my father died, which would put my life on a different path. In 2000, I went on staff at Kingsland Baptist Church while still firefighting. In 2004, Chesterfield Fire & EMS decided that I needed to be transferred to the office. God used that time to move me to Bermuda Baptist Church as their senior pastor. In 2006, I went to my first truck company. In 2010,
I retired from the fire service and obtained my Master’s degree from Liberty University. In June, I celebrated 11 years as pastor at Bermuda.
My wife and I are grandparents to a beautiful little boy and little girl. This life is truly a journey! Wherever you happen to be in your journey, understand that it is all part of the Master’s plan. I have been blessed, far beyond what I deserve. Thank you Lord!