The fire service, is rich with tradition, many rooted deep in our history. When we start the job, we’re issued a compliment of various Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that only we wear. Over the course of many years on the job, this gear provides for us a degree of protection…keeping us safe from injury…and yes, even death. It’s not uncommon to grow attached to this equipment, as it quite literally becomes an extension of ourselves.

The tradition I mention above is that we wear our gear…particularly our helmet…as a badge of honor. Tradition says that as the helmet has protected us while fighting what others fear, it becomes scarred. Dented. Smoke-stained. Seasoned. To clean a battle-scarred helmet is to dishonor it and the profession.

The seasoned helmet serves as a reminder of what we’ve faced. The exciting

Garage Fire

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and the not so exciting.

It reminds us to watch our six.

And it reminds us of our blessings

Blessing in a Helmet

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So, it’s a bittersweet day at the firehouse today. After almost ten years, I’m retiring helmet #2. Mind you, not by choice…technically it has 5 months before its ten-year life span is reached. Nonetheless, this baby is moving into retirement, making room for a new one to usher in a new era in my career. This piece of equipment representing ten years of life on the job will one day be passed to you. Whatever you do…don’t clean it. It’s done its job and kept me safe…protected me. It’s earned the right to stay dented, scratched, and stained.

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A Last Ride

Now a new helmet will don my noggin through the next decade of my career…

Passing the Torch

Passing the Torch

As my old helmet passes the torch to the new one, so I will one day pass the torch of manhood to you…pass to you the sum of my experiences…not just on the job, but in the life I’ve lived. It’s my life’s goal that what you learn from me not be in the words I share, but in the way I’ve lived. That’s primarily why I’ve not written any notes here in awhile…as I am trying to spend more time WITH you and less time writing TO you.

It’s my hope that when I’m old and living in retirement, you can look at my scars…my dents…my stains…my wrinkles…my frailness…and proudly see the man of my youth who did his job and protected his family…kept them safe…and raised them up in the Truth.

Love,

Dad

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