Tag Archives: Fire Wife

We Stand with You

Last night the Brotherhood lost one of their own.  Lt. Dennis DeVoe was loved by many, but none loved him as much as his wife Amy and their children.  This week the Brotherhood lost other members.  Captain Bill Dowling from Houston and others answered their final alarm.  While I prayed for those families, for their Brothers, I never felt the grief that I did last night when Harrisburg issued their formal statement.

I’ve never had a personal connection with a loss until last night.   I never met Denny, but I met, love and will forever call her Sister, his beautiful wife Amy.  Her smile lights up a room and a heart.

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I met Amy through the Firefighter Wife Sisterhood, the wives part of 24/7 Commitment.  I’ve written about the Sisterhood, the impact it has had on my life and my marriage.  I’ve written about the fact I know the Sisterhood will have my back if anything ever happens to my husband.  My heart knows this, my head knows this.  My heart hoped it would never happen to one of our own.  Yesterday, the group of Fire Wives that attended the Girls Getaway in Windham messaged, loved and prayed.  We banded together as Fire Wives need to when one of our own is hurting.  Our arms surrounded her from miles away hoping that she felt our love and strength.

Yesterday, last night and this morning reminds me that the Sisterhood is the backbone behind the Brotherhood.  There is no tougher job in the Fire Service, than that of the Fire Wife.  Together we unite to hold one of our own so that she can find the strength to carry on.

Amy, you are loved, you are supported,  you will forever be in my heart and on my mind.  My Sisters, your strength, your love and your grief have showed the Commitment we have to our own through all that the Fire Service throws at us.

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Firefighterwife.com : Why our Fire Families need it.

Evening Reflections on the Sisterhood

Heroes: A Chief’s Perspective

My husband had such a wonderful response to my Blog post that I decided to let him take over my blog for a bit.  Here goes.

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My Fire Wife talks about heroes in her post: Take, Take, Take.  Where’s the give?. Which I truly believe that the only heroic thing we do as firefighters is take the oath and staying committed to it. The rest is just part of the job. But as I sat in a meeting listening to talk about financing a program for my paid job as a CFO of a nonprofit, I could not help but feel a little like Clark Kent.

Let me explain, that morning I was at work. I was trying to complete a report that was due and I received a text that there was a structure fire in a neighboring district. I waited and listened as trucks rolled, then we were toned out for the confirmed structure fire. I told one other staff member that I was leaving and headed off, got to the scene, put on my bunkers and white helmet and went to work.

We did not save the house, but we put the fire out, no one was hurt, and some of the contents might be salvageable. Some 3 hours later, I took off the gear and went back to work. Just in time for this meeting. So I sat there and did my paid job as if nothing had happened and most of the people in the meeting did not even know I had left.

Hero? No. But as firefighters, paid or volunteer, we and our families live a different life than the rest of the world. Most of the time without them even knowing about it, unless it was their house we responded to. Maybe this is part of the reason we may be seen as take, take, take. We don’t publish what we do when the rest of the world is going about their day. We just respond when one of them needs help and do our job.

One of my first blogs was my story and how I got to be a Fire Wife. And how much I HATED being a Fire Wife. Not really being a Fire WIFE, just hating the fire service.  Thankfully, with the help of a great group of women, an amazing leader (Lori Mercer) and some inner reflection, I grew to love my husband’s other love: the Fire Service.

Fast forward a few years to the summer of 2014.  In August of 2014 I remember being at the station and asking our Chief if I could have a brief conversation with him. I had decided to take Scene Support Operations (intro level course to being certifiable). Our Chief was an instructor and I wanted to take the class with him. It just so happened…… he was teaching it in September at a neighboring District. Well…. I wasn’t getting out of it now.  I look back and ask myself, “What was I thinking?”

I was issued bunkers, gloves, helmet (it’s red, not black, but it’s a helmet) and any other piece of PPE that would keep me safe at an incident. Thank God Andy was on board with this. That Fire Wife: yeah, she made her husband (Assistant Chief) take the intro level class with her. That’s right, an Assistant Chief in a class for probies. Actually, I didn’t make him take it. He offered as soon as he knew it was what I really wanted to do. I wanted to do it for so many reasons: personal satisfaction, the drive to succeed, the need to help others.

At the same time I decided to take Scene Support Operations, one of our Jr. members was taking Firefighter I. This was the perfect training opportunity for both of us. We drilled on ladders, knots, Donning and Doffing. He helped me more than I helped him but it was great having someone working on some of the same skills as I was at the same time. Then, another Jr. Firefighter decided she was going to take Scene Support Operations with me. She drilled with us.  We worked at the skills we would need to pass our practical exam.  Now the Chief calls us the Bobbsey Twins.  I enjoy teaming up with Chris and Sarah.  Together we strive to improve our skills, learn as much as we can and be a helpful part of an awesome team.

That's me at the top of that ladder!

That’s me at the top of that ladder!

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The class was 2 nights a week for 2 weeks and 1 all day Saturday.  I have to say the classroom part was not nearly as exciting (sorry Chief) as the hands on.  The practical (an all day Saturday event) was awesome.  I learned so much from our Instructors.  I learned I can do a leg lock on a ladder (now that’s just crazy in today’s world with harnesses, but I learned how to do it), I learned more about an SCBA then I had learned training with Chris.  I learned how to pack hose, I learned how to use a fire extinguisher (that probably sounds odd but there is a special way to do it).  My personal best, walking on the roof of a building.  I was scared of heights (still not my most favorite thing) but now I know I can conquer that and climb the ladder to the roof.  But best of all, I was able to get on a hose line.  That won my heart.  Having the feeling of that charged line in your hand, knowing you have an awesome person behind you.  That was the icing on the cake.  Those are the moments I realized I had made the right decision and that I could do this.

Well, my brain said I could do this.  My body said, “What in the good Lord’s name are you doing girl?  You are 40 years old.  You do this crap when you are 25-30 not 40.  Your knees can’t take the pain you are inflicting on them.  Stop this girl before you hurt yourself.”  I laughed at my body and said, “this is my  goal, you are not getting in my way.”  But I can say Scene Support kicked my butt in a good way.  I’ve continued to get healthier by losing weight and becoming committed to a healthy body.

I accomplished my goal.  I got my certificate.  So did Sarah.  I’m proud of the hard work she put into that class.  She worked her butt off.  Chris he passed Firefighter I.  The smile on his face when my firefighter handed him his certificate and black helmet will never be forgotten.  We all earned those certs.

My training partner.

My training partner.

I DID IT!

I DID IT!

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So…. yeah me!!!  I was certifiably a Firefighter now.  One small teensy problem.  Andy and I never discussed how we would handle this new aspect of our relationship.   Remember that Type A personality thing I mentioned before?  How well do you think I like taking orders?  Yeah…. not so much.   Add to that those orders are coming from my husband no less.  Well….. we were right back to the screaming matches.  At least we kept it at home and not at incidents.  This was a whole new level in our marriage.  I think we have come to a mutual agreement.  It’s still hard for me to remember that at the Station or at an incident, he’s my (gulp) Superior Officer.  NOT my husband.  That’s difficult.  But I think we are getting better at it.  He’s a great training partner.  I enjoy our cardio walks and work out sessions.  He pushes me to be the best that I can.

Love of My Life.  He's now officially, MY Assistant Chief.

Love of My Life. He’s now officially, MY Assistant Chief.

 

Firefighterwife.com : Why our Fire Families need it.

On Monday, June 2, 2014 I had the opportunity to speak to the Knox Fire District about why each wife, girlfriend or fiancé of a Firefighter needs http://www.firefighterwife.com.  Watch the attached video for my heart felt thoughts on this amazing group.

This group of women led by our Chief Fire Wife Lori Mercer and our Admins has changed my life over the past year.  They’ve changed my marriage.  I have only met one other member of the Sisterhood, yet I consider each one of them my lifelong friend.

The Sisterhood has laughed with me, cried with me, prayed with me and for me.  They have listened to my hopes and lifted me up.  They have listened to my fears and calmed me.  Most importantly they have helped me to become a better Wife, Mother, and person.  Through blogs, online workshops, Flame Fest and more Firefighter Wife continues its mission to strengthen Fire Marriages and families.

Soon to come:  Firefighter Wife and the National Volunteer Fire Council teamed up to create the Volunteer Family Guide.  I can’t wait to show you all the Volunteer Fire Family featured on the cover.

 

20140420_18045722 years ago today this handsome man kissed me.  That was before a first date.  It was before asking me to go on a date with him.  God knew just what he was doing.

He wasn’t a Firefighter then.  As far as I knew he had no calling to be one.  He was simply Andy.

Today he is the love of my life, my soul mate, the father of my 2 beautiful children.

He is also Assistant Chief of our Fire Company and my hero.

Thank you Andy for 22 wonderful years.  May God grant us at least 22 more.  I love you more than I could ever say.

Father’s Day

My kids are blessed on Father’s Day.  I know, I know Father’s Day is supposed to be about the Dad right?  Well, it is.  But in this case I want to talk about why my kids are so lucky on Father’s Day and thereby bragging up the men they say Happy Father’s Day to.

The obvious and first Dad in their life is Andy.  Every day that goes by he shows what an amazing person he is.  While spending many hours in the office as CFO of a non-profit he always finds time to be an amazing Dad.  That time includes field trips with school, Assistant Coach of our son’s baseball team and always showing our daughter what traits she should look for in the man she will marry someday.  Much of that time is spent at the firehouse with the kids.  He has invited the Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts to the firehouse, drill nights, special demos, our kids are always there.  So is our Goddaughter Jessie.  And she is loved as much as our own.

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The other “Dad” in their life is their Godfather “Uncle” Donnie.  His dedication to his family, the firehouse and my kids reminds me we made a good choice when we picked him to to be a major influence in our children’s lives.    As much as he probably thinks Katie doesn’t like him much, she does.  Both of our kids love Uncle Donnie.  He takes time to show Drew the ropes at the Station; giving Drew the nickname of “Little Chief.”  He attends Drew’s baseball games and helps out at the Scout days at the station.

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And lastly there is the grandpa’s.  My kids love both of their Grandfathers.  My Dad has been a very strong influence on my kids.  Much as my Grandfather was with me.  Grampy takes Drew to the Gas Up, to hair cuts, to the store to talk with the coffee crowd,  you name it Drew follows.  Drew calls Grampy his Best Friend.  Grampy was the driving force behind the training wheels finally coming off of the bikes, learning how to swim and many of the other childhood milestones.

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So today, as everyday, I am thankful that my kids have these amazing men to look up to, to love, to teach them.

Thank you Andy, Dad and Donnie for being positive, loving men in my children’s lives.

And there is one other man I have to brag on, just a little.  My Grandfather.  I spent many hours at his house as a little kid.  He lived just up the road from my parents.  I love listening to the stories of old that he loves telling.  He turned 98 last October.

From the Children: Thoughts from the Assistant Chiefs Daughter

Katie at the stationIt’s about strengthening families and marriages.  A big part of every firefighter’s life is his or her family.  Our daughter loves to write and she loves, loves, loves her Daddy.  She asked me if she could write something for my blog about her thoughts on being a fire child.  I was surprised but readily agreed.  So now, here is my guest blogger, Katie:

Whenever the tones go out I am sad because that means my Daddy has to leave!  But I am also proud that my Firefighter Daddy is going out to save someone’s life.  My Mommy helps out if there is a really bad call.  My Mommy goes to the fire house to help give out food and drinks to the Firefighters.  I always try to understand whenever my Mommy or Daddy have to go out because they have jobs to do as Assistant Chief and Treasurer of the Fire Company.  By: Katie

Our kids spend quite a bit of time at the Fire House.  Whether they go to drill nights, stop at the office to help Mommy pay bills or respond to calls on the way home from dinner, we are raising our next generation of Firefighters.  I love seeing the love for their Daddy and his Brother’s shine on their faces whenever we are at the fire house.  They light up when they have the opportunity to tell their friends that their Daddy is a Firefighter.905726_4668845685748_814322427_o

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