Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Fire Station VIP Visit

My older brother is a hero.   Not just my hero.  He's saved people's lives and homes and children.  Maybe even their cats up in trees, but I've never asked.  My brother is a fire fighter and paramedic.

Except for his time as a medic for the Marines, which took him across the globe in peacetime and wartime, my brother has always been a firefighter.  He started while he was still in high school, as a volunteer.  It is what he's meant to be, and he's good at it.

Though we were only in town for a day and a half, I wanted to make sure I did something I've wanted to do for a long time: have him show us around the station.  Since it was his day off and the other guys had left the station to go shopping, we (literally) had our run of the place.

It was a fascinating visit, with only his kids and ours, because we were able to ask lots of questions.  He explained how important fitness was to his job, and how he helped negotiate with the union for required daily workouts.  (How would you feel if the guy expected to pull you from a burning building couldn't drag his jiggly belly up the stairs?)  He taught us about each rig in the large garage, and their specific funtions, from the truck that specialized in rugged wild fires to the one they bought from Southern California.  He showed us the conference rooms and the room where they had their Christmas tree set up.  He spoke of the generosity of the community, neighbors who have brought meals and gifts in support of their local life-savers.  All this from the kid that used to (threaten to) beat me up.  I was so impressed, so proud.

And with this special visit, he let us climb aboard a rig.

Once the kids crawled in the back, a surprise!  My brother and hubby hopped in front, and we went for a (legal) spin! 

The kids were ecstatic, and I was thrilled beyond belief.  Could it get any more exciting?!  YES!  He sounded the siren!

Back at the station, a learning moment.  He geared up and turned on his air and let the kids get good and close, explaining to them that when they're in trouble they shouldn't be scared of the big guys that come to their rescue.  It was a monumental lesson for our kiddo, who was very shy to start, but warmed up when she realized it was her uncle's eyes she could see through the mask.

Extra bonus, the Uncle Firefighter Special.  The kids got to try on his gear, the ultimate dress-ups!  The baby just sank to the bottom of his pants; the top of his big boots were taller than her waistline.

Thank you, Uncle Martin, for the backstage pass.  We realize this was the chance of a lifetime.  We are so proud of you!  We're so lucky to have you as our hero, and your community is lucky to have you as theirs, too.

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