June 1, 2009
Dan made the very difficult decision to leave the fire department that he has been member of for the last 21 years. He moved through the ranks and leaves the department having held the position of 1st assistance chief. As you might imagine, being part of an organization such as a fire department has its definite downfalls. The portrayal of them being a tight brotherhood of men is often exaggerated. Most of the time Dan's department could be defined as one big dysfunctional family. Greg has seen enough power and control exerted by the "higher ups" that he has vowed never to join. I believe that the fire department fills a void for certain types of people. It is a rare breed that will put their life on the line and on hold for the often thankless job of volunteer fireman. Unfortunately, the thanklessness sometimes comes from your own men forgetting that you are a volunteer. I just wish that the job could somehow, somewhat, come close to the idealized version. Nonetheless, our lives have also been positively affected by his involvement. Greg has enjoyed the camaraderie of the junior members. Dan was always so good to this up and coming group of young members. He made them feel important and useful. These young guys would help Dan with yard work at our own home in exchange for lunch at the nearby pizza place. No matter what, this was nice bonding time. Something that the older, more jaded members should have taken a lesson from. I recall the night that Dan joined the fire department. It was his 18th birthday, he was finally old enough to join. They voted him in immediately. I remember the first call he responded to. He just about broke his neck getting out of his house. I can proudly say that he answered most of the next 3,000 calls in the same enthusiastic manner. Even with all of us telling him from the dinner table to skip some of them. Reagan has responded to many a fire call in her day too. She has seen a lot from her position in the passenger seat of car 210. Of the two kids, she has the best memories of the fire department. She spent her whole 4th year of life hanging at the firehouse and lunching with different members. She could write her own version of Little Critter's Just me and my Dad. One year Dan checked a carbon monoxide detector on Christmas for people who were too embarrassed to have the whole company toned out. I have watched him come upon a fatal motorcycle accident scene and completely take over until the ambulance arrived. I know the department will have another 1st assistant chief in no time, but the commitment of that person will undoubtedly fall short as they have some big boots to fill. We are going to be on the move with baseball of course, but Dan has also had a rekindling (no pun intended) of his interest in hiking with me and being healthier. For sure, the fire department supplied our lives with a lot of stress. It was time to end the chapter and I am glad he recognized it. For the entire 15 years we have been married, there has not been a night that the fire scanner was not calling out to us every emergency in two counties. Tonight, it was quiet. And I have to say it was nice.....and maybe, just maybe, a tad bittersweet.
at 10:35 PM