Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Message

Lord, give me the heart of a fireman…….


The place could be anywhere across the USA in thousands of small rural communities.  The names of the people are not well known.  They are just ordinary folks who get up and go to work every day, some to more than one job and all who volunteer for one or more community activities.  They are called volunteer firemen, or in many cases, fire and rescue personnel.  I think our Creator calls them special.  I know that I do!


It was 24 degrees when I recently visited one such group.  It was the night of their weekly meeting.  All were there except one younger member who was in training, on his own time, with no pay, to learn how to be a better volunteer fire and rescue worker.  There were a lot of the “over fifty” crowd and perhaps some beyond that.  24 degrees is pretty cold for Alabama, but every member was ready to serve their community night or day as duty called.


I had not been to this department for over eight years, yet several members recalled my last visit, and the Chief still had my business card.  These guys place their values in people, not things!  Many are employed in the manufactured housing industry, an industry that is suffering greatly from the deeds of financial manipulators and greedy politicians whose acts have resulted in loss of jobs, extended layoffs, and an average loss in their retirement funds of over 40%.  Yet, even though there was a brief discussion on the subject, not a single member blamed their woes on someone else, applied for welfare, or even complained.  All they wanted was the opportunity to continue working to support their family and community.  I think our American car makers and government leaders could use a little guidance from these folks.


Like all meetings of this type, there is an agenda that includes a review of old business.  One of the topics of the evening involved a medical response to a member of the community.  It seems the response time was a little longer than usual.  There were no excuses.  Some explanations were reviewed to determine what was wrong that could be corrected without focusing on the blame or excuse game.  A two point plan evolved.  The first was to extend a sincere apology to the person with the medical problem and second, to initiate a plan and a purpose to never let such a thing happen again.  They didn’t even require a board meeting.  They simply identified the problem and took the necessary action.


For what it’s worth, many of the members were at a local high school basketball game the night that the previous incident occurred.  Support of school programs and participation in church activities is just a small part in the life of volunteer fire and rescue personnel.  These are not the captains of industry and you’ll probably never see their names in the media, but I think I know one place where you’ll see their names.  It’s called the Book of Life and it is maintained by the big Scorekeeper in the sky.  That makes at least two of us that appreciate what you do!


Lastly, for all you whimpering atheistic left wing rabble rousers, I have only one thing to say to you and all your kind……


Merry Christmas!

 Burch H. Falkner