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Who Do You Want To Be?

Who do I want to be? A question we have all asked ourselves at one point in our lives. At a very young age, I focused on playing baseball and being a firefighter like my dad. I loved baseball with a passion and grew up watching the New York Yankees with my dad as a little kid. I grew up wanting the best of both worlds, being able to play baseball for the Yankees and be a firefighter for the FDNY at the same time. I soon realized as I got older that I couldn’t have the best of both worlds. I had to come to a point in my life where I had to choose what I wanted to do with my life. At 18 years old and about to graduate high school, it’s not easy figuring out what you want to do. I was fortunate enough to have amazing parents who raised me right and taught me how to be a man of God.

I spent my whole life going to church every Sunday and even going to youth group every Wednesday night. I know in the fire service religion is a touchy subject and can cause controversy among a lot of the guys and gals at the station. Everyone has their opinion in life, and that’s what makes the power of decision-making so great, we get to choose what we want to believe in and do with our lives. Many people believe there is a God, and many people don’t. I believe there is a God, and I believe he sent his son Jesus Christ on this earth to die on the cross for our sins so that we may be forgiven. I also believe God has a plan for each of our lives and opens doors of opportunity for us each and every day. It’s up to me to have faith and trust in Him to guide me through my journey in life.

IMAG0014-1When I graduated high school, I had the choice of going to college and playing baseball, or start my career in the fire service and follow in the footsteps of my father. It wasn’t an easy choice for me; I spent many days praying and asking God what He would want me to do. That summer, I spent a lot of my time doing ride time with my father as an Explorer. One of the last fires I ran with my dad that summer was a fully involved office building that was next an abandoned warehouse. Even though it was a “surround and drown” type scenario, I knew from that moment that this is what I had a love for in my life. It’s like God set a fire in my heart, a burning passion to serve and help others in my community. From that moment on, I made it a commitment to strive and be the best firefighter/paramedic God would want me to be.

Fast forward four years later and I’m now a Firefighter/Paramedic with a great fire department, went to college to get my Associates Degree and now I’m working on earning my Bachelor’s Degree. God has provided for me in my life, and I will always be grateful for the many opportunities He has given me. At 22 years old, I am still very young and have a lot to learn and experience. There came a low point in my life, where I was angry and frustrated with how my life was turning out and I stopped putting my faith and trust in God. I started questioning myself and even wondered if this career was right for me, or if this was even the path God wanted me to go down. I lost all hope and at one point gave up. Then all of sudden God always finds a way to to give you reassurance and to tell you that He is with you and has never left you. Through friends, family, church and IMG956502my amazing girlfriend, I was able to see and realize how great God is and how He had made me stronger. He restored my hope and confidence and gave me life again. I felt like a new man, and I felt a new fire restored in my heart.

Being 22 and still young, I don’t have a lot of advice or experience to give. If there’s one piece of advice I have, it’s don’t give up finding what your calling is in life. I don’t know exactly what God has planned for the rest of my future, but I do know He wants me to be the best firefighter/paramedic that I can be. He would want me to show His love to others in their time of need. For those that are still unsure what the future holds for their lives, don’t give up on searching for an answer. Even if you believe or don’t believe in God, there is a plan for your life. Someone is looking after you all the time. He loves you and cares about you, even when it seems like the rest of world is crumbling around you. He will show you the plans for your life, and He will lead you down the path that will bring joy and great success for your life.

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Renewing Your Self Motivation

How many times do you find yourself losing your self-motivation?  It could be caused by low department morale, losing faith in humanity, or just getting bored. It happens to all of us.  The real question is, how do we get that lost motivation back?

If you feel that your motivation is being lost due to low department morale and  while I agree this can be a

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contributor, I believe that overcoming it, as it pertains to your personal motivation, starts with you.  It’s a lot easier to change your own attitude than it is to change the attitude of your entire department.

When you lose that motivation, one of the best ways to get it back is to start at the beginning.  Remembering and revisiting what or who made you passionate about the job in the first place can help re-light that fire inside you.  Everyone always has that one mentor that sticks out in their memory.  That mentor is that person who emulates what a firefighter should be in your mind.  Reconnecting and visiting with that person can be the kick-in-the-pants that you need to get back on track.

If you find yourself getting bored, maybe it’s time to branch out into other areas of the fire service.  There are so many all-hazards areas you could explore, a person could fill their entire career with just learning all of them.  Hazardous materials, dive teams, search and rescue and technical rescue teams are just a few specialized areas that you can you delve into.  Sometimes branching out into other areas can give you a new perspective on the same job and reignite that passion.

Sometimes after a particularly bad call, we can find it hard to see the good in humanity.  We start to question why we even do the job.  What’s the point?  When you start getting to this point, it’s time to take some time off and

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talk to someone.  This is a career ending attitude for firefighters and it’s paramount to get outside help in this instance.  With the customer service aspect of our job, compassion is important to have.  However, it’s difficult to have compassion when your outlook on humanity is a pessimistic one at best.

Everyone hits a low point in their career when they start to question the job.  It doesn’t even have to be something big.  The smallest detail of a call can be enough to shake your foundation.  The important thing to do is to counteract these times as soon as you can.  The longer you wait, the harder it will be to pick yourself back up and relight your passion for the job.  Most of all, never be afraid to talk to someone about it.  Remember, in the fire family, no one fights alone.