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A message to all firefighters: ‘Thank you for all that you do’

No matter the challenges that face you, you find a way to respond to those in need

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Thank you for continued commitment to your community.

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It’s been a long and tumultuous year for most, both on the job and off. Yet somehow, someway, you still manage to find a way to respond repeatedly to those in need. Thank you!

Thank you for putting your lives on hold and missing family functions, holidays, soccer practices and doctors’ appointments.

Thank you for your continuous response to the frequent flyer. It may feel like they just want attention but remember, what they really want is someone to talk to, someone to hep them get up, someone to see during the day. Their family may not be there anymore, and you are the only one they have to hold them, even if it’s for a little while. Many thanks.

Thank you for putting yourself in danger on a continuous basis. Whether it be running into a burning building, directing traffic, climbing ladders, going into that house, crawling into a confined space, operating heavy equipment, moving through a hostile environment, or driving into mother nature. Thanks.

Thank you for running your tenth call of the night so the new probie could take the shift off, so they could take their child to their doctor’s appointment because her husband is away on a business trip. You do a great job making sure your new firefighters are taken care of and providing good leadership.

Thank you for attending your umpteenth public education event. You do a great job relating the information to children and young adults so that they can be safer with their decisions. Your instruction may have just saved a life. Again, thank you.

Thank you for taking the time to go over that part of training in your off time, making sure that everyone understands how to properly search a room. What’s very easy to you may be difficult to others. Thank you for giving a little more even when you’re tired. It is greatly appreciated.

Thank you for honking the horn for the kid who was instructed by his dad to wave to you and do the honk-honk arm movement. It’s a lost tradition, and I am glad you noticed.

Thank you for sitting with the new widow on scene. They weren’t planning on this moment, and you were there to give them your shoulder. Your compassion made the situation a little bit easier to bare.

Thank you for correcting the new firefighter and not just complaining. Often people don’t know what they don’t know. It is very important for us to correct mistakes if we want someone to learn and be better. It’s our fault if they are wrong, not theirs. Kudos.

Thank you for striving to stay current on the myriad training opportunities offered. Firefighting changes like the calendar, and staying up to date on new information makes us better. Keep up the good work.

Thank you for coming back to work after that difficult call. You saw the worst, you helped, and it didn’t go as planned. You came back. Please make sure you are using all the available resources at your disposal to assist you.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and wisdom. Hoarding information helps no one. Although it may at times feel as though you are the smartest of the bunch, it does no good if you don’t share your knowledge.

Thank you for giving yourself to a profession that has high risk and low salaries. You could have done something else, but you chose to help others. Tip of the cap to you.

Thank you for seeing that your fellow firefighter is going through something and assisting them in getting help, even if they resisted at first. You are always a first responder, not just when the tones drop.

Thank you for volunteering, not just for all the calls, but all the training, public education events, hose testing, hydrant maintenance, budgeting, vehicle checks, station cleaning, and beyond. You leave your home, your family at a moment’s notice, never knowing exactly when you will be back.

Thank you to all your families for enduring the challenges that come with your livelihood and service to others, for dedication to complete strangers. Make sure YOU thank them.

Thank you for being who you are. The fire service has faced many challenges, and you are here to keep it going. Day in and day out, you are influencing future leaders and future firefighters.

Thank you!

James Pribyl is a captain with Turkey Creek Fire Rescue in Sneads Ferry, North Carolina, and has served with the department for 5.5 years. He is also a retired Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 3.