Tuesday, December 05, 2006

SCFD Christmas Letter

This was written by Larry our "fix it man" for the fire department staff.....very well done!

Yes, it is time for the first annual e-mail from the maintenance guy. You will have to right click and then click on open. I incoroporated a system for those of you who have short attention spans also. It is addressed to the Rookies, however, I think you all can relate.

I have written several e-mails in the past giving instructions on how to use everything from garbage disposals to the triple flush toilet technique. I want to thank all of you in your efforts, because I don't get near the amount of late night phone calls that I used to. I told you in my last holiday e-mail that I would do my best to get you more of the flexsteel chairs if you would help, and as you have noticed, they arrived at the end of last years physical budget. Some of you told me that my e-mails are tooooo long, so I incorporated a system just for you. Those of you with the short attention spans should only read the words in bold letters. There are only nine. Hopefully that is short enough. :-)

First and foremost, I want to welcome all the new firefighters to one of the best Fire Departments in the country. It is a joy for me to see your faces filled with excitement as you anxiously await the call. I wish you could see your eyes sparkle as you proudly sit in the worn out bottomless Lazyboy chairs looking and listening to the stories told by an old Veteran, who is (of course) sitting in the new cadillac Flexsteel recliner.

But then, the cad printer begins to type. You are no longer infatuated with the stories, but are now ready to make your own experiences. Your body instantly reacts causing you to jump to your feet, ready for action. Your eyes are no longer glazed with awe, but have now turned into tunnel vision, looking for the closest door. Your body is consumed with adrenalin, as you stand there listening for the dispatcher's voice to radiate throughout the confines of the station.

I smile as I watch you gather around the printer, looking over each others shoulders trying to read every word.

I look back over at the Vet and watch him as he calmly reaches down along the side of the recliner, trying to find the handle that will release the leg rest.

I hear one of you (Rookies) exclaim, “ALRIGHT, ..... IT'S A FIRE!”

The rest of you chime in, “ALRIGHT!.”

I watch as one of you rips the paper from the printer, and then, as you all look back at the Vet, who has now grabbed a hold of the handle to his chair. We all watch together as the Vet forcefully shoves the handle down while he simultaneously kicks his leather boots against the leg rest, catapulting himself up onto his feet.

As the claxton alarm begins to ricochet off the walls and ceiling, the Vet softly asks, “where are we going?”

You try to hold back your excitement as you say, ”North Lockwoodridge and Desoto Road.”

Several more Vets instantly appear, and without hesitation, confidently walk out through the door leading to the apparatus bay.

Within seconds, I am all alone. I stand there listening to the dead silence that has now filled the building. But, it is quickly interrupted by the sound of the large metal garage doors opening, while you jump into the trucks, preparing to drive out of the station and into the realm of the UNKNOWN. None of you knowing exactly what you will see when you get on scene. But all of you knowing that there is no guarantee that you will get a ride back unharmed or alive.

My heart fills with pride as I think about how you all, unselfishly stopped everything you were doing to go help those you don't even know and may never see again, unless the recipients of your gallant efforts come to the firehouse to say thanks.

One by one, I watch the trucks pull out of the station, flooding the world outside with screaming sirens and flashing lights.

As quickly as it began, it has all ended. Silence falls over me and the firehouse. No more bell ringing, no more printer typing, no more story telling, just the timer to the alarm slowly ticking, as it resets itself in preparation for the next call of distress.

You chose a dangerous career. One that will one day consume your thoughts and body. You will get frustrated, but I hope that your satisfaction of helping others will be enough for you to overcome these heartaches.

I hope that when you hear the cad printer beginning to type and the claxton bell sounding the alarm, you will realize that many people, including Mike Tobias, have spent countless hours bringing you the best information system available.

I hope that when the dispatcher's voice announces the call over the P.A. system that you realize, they too are trying to help you know where and what you are responding to.

I hope when you step into the Fire Truck or Rescue, you realize that much blood, sweat, and tears, have been given by people such as, Harold Bitner, Steve kern, Ray Bounds, Jason Wilkins, Wade Chappel, Jimmy Lowery, and the mechanics at Station #20, striving to bring you the best equipment available.

I hope that as you sit there waiting for the large apparatus bay doors to open, you take a moment to say a prayer for all those who have gone before you. Especially those who are now permanently injured and those looking down from the heavens.

I also hope you realize that these brave men and women had to do the same job you are about to do, with much less then you are now afforded.

I hope that when you pull off the ramp and into the traffic, you realize the many people such as Gene Riggs, who have spent many hours designing an intricate system that changes the signal lights, so you can maneuver through the intersections, as you speed to the scene.

I hope that when you return to the firehouse and lay your head down to rest, you realize that those of us in the Maintenance Department are always striving to give you a comfortable living environment while you spend your precious time away from your loved ones.

This career you have chosen is often a thankless job, with no guarantees, but just know that there is a large network of people standing behind you ready to help. You are not alone!! Although we may not be there with you, handing you the medical supplies or helping you hold the 3” fire hose, we are there in spirit as are the ones who have gone before you.

As the Holiday Season approaches, I also hope you will take the time to patiently look at all those you meet and realize that they and their families will all be faced with sorrow, illness, and death this coming year, and it is people such as yourself that gives us HOPE during these times of heartache.

Finally, and most importantly, I hope that no matter what this job or Life throws at you, YOU will remember that you are the Best and the rest of the World Loves You.

Sincerely and Merry Christmas to you all.

Larry the maintenance guy.

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