Whether paid or volunteer, most firefighters refer to their occupation as "...the greatest job in the world." It certainly has its rewards.
At the same time, when speaking to members of the public about what we do, so often we hear, "I could never do what you do." I heard it just the other day from a career US Army medic with a deployment to Iraq under his belt. I was taken aback.
Let's face it, it takes a special kind of individual to be a firefighter or first responder. We were all civilians at one time- or were we? There's surely a case to be made that the job is 'in our blood' and that we're born to do it. Look at all the generational firefighters out there. Who really knows for sure? Others find inspiration from events in their lives and are called to a life of service. Whatever the case may be, firefighters and first responders are undoubtedly some of the most passionate people around when it comes to their jobs.
What makes us say, "yeah, I can [and will] do that!"? What motivates us to go through weeks, months, years, and lifetimes of (often arduous) classroom, physical, and field training to do a job with more of the same?
Where is the divide between what we do and what most feel they never could? How could a career Army medic who's been around and seen so much feel that way? What makes us tick? How do first responders forge ahead and get the job done every single day, often in the context of unimaginable conditions? I don't know if there's a single answer that can even be articulated.
I DO know without a doubt that this is a community, a family, that I have always felt incredibly proud and privileged to be a member of- and I ALWAYS will. Be safe, all...