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Quiet Warrior: Recognizing firefighters’ commitment to service

Share your stories of community spirit and exemplary work by firefighters, both on and off the job


Firefighters perform heroic actions every day, both on and off the job, that improve the quality of life for our citizens and our communities.


Sponsored by 5.11 Tactical

By John M. Buckman III

Firefighters generally do our jobs without fanfare. We never call ourselves “heroes.” Firefighters respond quickly, take care of the problem and return to their station or home after the response and continue on with their life.

We often say, “It’s our job,” when a citizen says thank you.

But the reality is that firefighters perform heroic actions every day, both on and off the job, that improve the quality of life for our citizens and our communities.

Making a difference

Today many of our calls are less about fire and more about human needs. When someone dials 911, it is not a good day for them. As Chief Alan Brunacini said, “Mrs. Smith needs help, and it is not a good day.” Mrs. Smith wants someone to respond and take care of the problem while being nice to her at the same time.

The person who dials 911 for assistance believes the person who walks in their front door will take care of their problem and demonstrate a concern for their wellbeing. As a firefighter responding to that 911 call, we need to be able to make that person feel special.

Why we do it

Our jobs as first responders provide a very rewarding experience because we have so many opportunities to make someone’s bad day better. We can’t save everyone, but for the most part, we improve their lives to the best of our ability from the time we walk in the front door.

Genuine concern and a desire to help must to be in your genetic makeup or you won’t be happy in service to others. Being a firefighter is a great job and a very rewarding vocation for volunteer firefighters.

Are you a Quiet Warrior?

The Quiet Warrior program, a partnership between and 5.11 Tactical, highlights acts of service and exemplary work by firefighters on and off the job. We are looking for stories of firefighters who have served others unselfishly and, in many cases, at great personal sacrifice.

We want to shine a light on firefighters’ individual and collective commitment to serving their community, not just while on duty or serving as a volunteer firefighter.

You know firefighters who help out at soup kitchens, homeless shelters, kids’ sporting events, community events and others. They work quietly without asking for recognition. You know firefighters who dedicate a significant portion of their life in service to others. You may even have a story to share.

Quiet Warrior is not about ego. It is about the commitment of firefighters to our fellow men and women. The value of a firefighter as a public servant is immeasurable. The public gets much more from a firefighter today than just his or her time on shift, or the volunteer’s time in training or responding.

Firefighters care about their communities and want to help people in need.

We need your help in identifying the Quiet Warriors among you to give them the recognition they deserve for their service to the community and to the fire service.

Chief John M. Buckman III served 35 years as fire chief for the German Township (Indiana) Volunteer Fire Department, and 15 years as director of the fire and public safety academy for the Indiana State Fire Marshal Office. He is the Director of Government and Regional Outreach for Buckman is a past president of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and a co-founder of the IAFC Volunteer and Combination Officers Section. In 1996, Fire Chief Magazine named Buckman Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year. Buckman is an accomplished photographer, a co-author of the Lesson Learned from Fire-Rescue Leaders, and the editor of the Chief Officers Desk Reference. He is also the owner of Wildfire Productions. Buckman is a member of the Fire Chief/FireRescue1 Editorial Advisory Board. Connect with Chief Buckman on LinkedIn or via email.

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