17 years ago, I began my first day as a firefighter recruit for the department I still work for. I had volunteered for several years prior, but I had no clue what I was getting into.
All I knew for sure was that from high school up until March 1, 1999 I wanted to be a career firefighter. Nothing I had done in the fire service prior prepared me for recruit school and the past 17 years of ups and downs.
I like to think of the great times often. Yet sometimes I am reminded of the darker side of our job. It has been important to create balance between life at the firehouse and life at home.
There have been highs and lows to my career. Probably not much out of the ordinary for many firefighters…and yet I wouldn’t change a thing. The last 17 years… the experiences, the calls, the firehouse life, and the people who I have served with is what makes up 1/3 of my life. It is my history that I hold near and dear to my heart.
We can’t do it all, and often we can’t control the variables of our careers…but we can take what is offered and make the most of it.
Below is the photo taken at the end of our “final burn” during recruit school. Recruit Class 15 would go on to graduate soon after…the following 17 years is already in the books. I think I have 8 more years til I can retire. I hope to make the most of it! I am the 4th from right in the front row.
No regrets, take it or leave it…make it matter!