Who am I here for? The protection of my community first and my firefighters second!
As the fire chief, I am truly â€œmy brotherâ€™s keeper.â€ Â My firefighters best interests are in my hands. If I am not representing their best interests, who is going to? Â Politicians? Finance People? Fire department naysayers? My duty as the Fire Chief is to be the front line of defense of my firefighters. If cuts to manpower or operating budgets are realistically going to put my people in danger, then I should have the fortitude to stand up and say â€œnot on my watch.â€ Â I know, itâ€™s easy for me to say in an article when I am not facing that situation. But, I would like to think that I would make that stand. Â
It wouldnâ€™t be the smart thing to do in most situations. It wouldnâ€™t be the approach to take if you were interested in maintaining employment as the fire chief. As the political landscape and our society become driven by polls and popular opinion, we feel the pressure to embrace the philosophy of modern business and politics. However, who are the business world and the career political players in the game for–themselves. Â
I will never be the fire chief of a large metro department. Why, you ask? I probably wouldnâ€™t last long. I donâ€™t have that kind of political â€œsavvy.â€ Â Itâ€™s not who I am. However, I do know who I am in the game for . . . them (my community first and my firefighters second). Because I love â€œthe job!â€ Â I love being around real firefighters. Â I love being in a bar sharing stories; the language will be rough and the characters even rougher! Thatâ€™s who I am and who I will always be. Â If you really know my background you would understand why I feel that way. Â I am comfortable in my own skin and I donâ€™t have to work in a large department to feel like I haveÂ arrived.
The greatest compliment anyone ever paid me was from a true brother in the fight. Â The simple words he used spoke volumes to me. Â He introduced me as â€œa firefighterâ€™s fire chief.â€ Â If I can only live up to that phrase, I have risen to the top of the profession no matter where I work. Â If I as a Fire Chief donâ€™t leave things better than they were when I got the job, who was I there for? We must strive every day to fulfill that role as a fire chief. I appreciate the opportunity to let it go, to vent my frustration, and to voice my passion. Thanks for listening!
So, I leave you with a call to actionâ€¦â€¦.be here for them!!
Chief Jon Trent
Sr. Staff correspondent
#Hooks & Hooligans