Saturday, December 18, 2010

His Night

Tonight was the annual Christmas dinner for Beaver Dam Fire Department where Tim is chief.  It was great to be out for a night, surrounded by Tim's second family, and celebrating another year.  You can see a sparkle in his eyes when he's around his guys and it brought me joy to be there for him.

Tim plans for several months leading up to their dinner, ensuring they feel appreciated and enjoy their one night out.  Since becoming Chief, he started recognizing years of service for any firefighter devoting ten or more years to BDFD.  He also gets them some type of gift and surprises them with it, not even telling his officers what it will be.  Being in the fire service for over 25 years, he knows what a thankless job it is and so I think he goes the extra mile to make sure they know how important each of them are.

Tonight though, they surprised him too.  After handing out several door prizes, years of service and the Firefighter of the Year award, a box was placed on the table by one of his officers.  The firefighters had ordered him a beautiful desk set complete with a bronze firefighter and his name plate.  (It will look wonderful in his office, in the hopefully new fire station, Tim's been working on for the past two years!)  At any rate, it completely shocked him and I could tell it was all he could do to keep his emotions in tact.  I appreciated that his guys were taking the time to recognize his leadership and all that he's done to help improve the department since being in office.  BDFD is truly his passion and it shows in the growth and stability that has come within the past year. 

I am always proud of my husband and the service he gives to this community but tonight was pretty special.  I found this poem tonight and I think it really captures the essence of a him - and all firefighters.

What is a fireman?

He is the guy next door - a man's man with the memory of a little boy.
He has never gotten over the excitement of engines and sirens and danger.
He is a guy like you and me with wants and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.
He is a fireman.

He puts it all on the line when the bell rings.
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He is a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death.
He is a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power
of violence out of control.
He is responsive to a child's laughter because his arms have held too many
small bodies that will never laugh again.

He is a man who appreciates the simple pleasures of life - hot coffee held in numb, unbending fingers -  a warm bed for bone and muscle compelled beyond feeling - the camaraderie of brave men - the divine peace and selfless service of a job well done in the name of all men.
He doesn't wear buttons or wave flags or shout obscenities.
When he marches, it is to honor a fallen comrade.
He doesn't preach the brotherhood of man.

He lives it.


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