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Fabric of the Fire Service: Firefighters who embody what it means to be a firefighter

This new program celebrates some of those who go above and beyond to serve their communities, fellow firefighters and families

Firefighters share many traits. Courage, competence and sense of service are but a few on a long list. As much as firefighters are courageous public servants, they are also natural storytellers. These stories remind us of who we are and who we strive to be.

The Fabric of the Fire Service is a new program from FireRescue1 and TECGEN that uncovers great firefighter stories and honors those who have gone beyond the call of duty to help others. Each of the program’s categories is a thread that runs through the fire service.

These three threads: family, fraternity and community make up the fabric of the fire service that — like our uniforms — is a source of both pride and protection, a sense of being part of something bigger and an inspiration to be the best that one can be. And, like the threads in fabric, each reinforces the others, strengthening the whole.

As Todd Herring, VP of Sales and Marketing for TECGEN put it, “As a textile engineer I have found that the properties of the fabric are greater than the sum of the individual yarns. This holds true in the Fire Service. The individual fibers - tradition, brotherhood, community – come together in a way that far exceeds the sum of their individual parts to create the Fabric of the Fire Service. The TECGEN team is so humbled and grateful to be a part of recognizing the strength of the fire service through this series.”

Over the next three months, Fabric of the Fire Service, sponsored by TECGEN, will honor those men and women who have exemplified each of these threads through their actions.

The threads of the fire service

  1. Family Tradition: Many families have deep roots in the fire service and a sense of duty and commitment to the community that stretches over generations. Tell us about someone you know who has kept their fire service family tradition alive.
  2. Brotherhood: Few professions can boast the sense of fraternity that one feels in the fire service. Many would say they have two families: their blood family and their fire family. If you’ve seen someone who epitomizes that sense of brotherhood, tell us about it.
  3. Community: Some firefighters go above and beyond in serving the community at large. Do you know someone who has gone far and above their duty to help their local community? Tell us about it.

Who is a Candidate for the Fabric of the fire service?

Examples of the above threads can be found in departments all across the country. Many cases of firefighters who have gone above and beyond have been featured here on FireRescue1 .

For family tradition, a great example comes from Littleton, Mass., where firefighter Alexander Steele McCurdy III was sworn in as fire chief by his father, who had also held the position, or this similar case of a son following in his father’s footsteps in West Paterson, N.J.

When it comes to brotherhood, the sense of fraternity shown by the emergency response agencies in San Antonio, who united to bring a terminally ill firefighter home to see his family before he died illustrates the point quite well. Another example would be the Cedar Hill, Texas firefighters who united to rebuilt a retired colleague’s home.

Finally, community means many things. It can be a large volunteer effort or something relatively small that speaks volumes for the care that the fire service has for the community. A great example would be the firefighters in Bayton, Texas who, after taking a man to the hospital who had suffered a heart attack while mowing the lawn, returned to finish the job for him. A firefighter in Selah, Wash. provided another excellent example when he started an autism training program.

Heroism in the fire service takes on many forms — from saving lives to mowing lawns. And each act has a great story behind it. Who better than firefighters can tell those stories?