Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Week 17: Feeding My Fire Department Family

Fire departments are like families, and the St. Francis Fire Department in Wisconsin is no exception.  I know, because I am the proud daughter of a retired* captain from that department.

It was almost like I had 12+ dads growing up, each guy looking out for me in our small town.  Because my dad worked a 24 hour shift every three days during my childhood, I celebrated many special occasions at the department: I took prom pictures on fire trucks, blew out birthday candles in their kitchen, and logged countless hours joking with the guys at the station (I didn't know at the time that those were special occasions, but they are memories I hold near and dear to this day).

The St. Francis Fire Department moved into their new "house" a couple of months ago...and what a beauty it is!  This past weekend I surprised the guys with a visit, dropping off Packers cookies and cupcakes from Grebe's Bakery prior to the big playoff game on Sunday (Go Pack Go!).

Our friend, Pete, gave me a tour of the impressive new digs, pointing out the prayer box my dad built and the clipboard he repaired which they moved from the old station to the new radio room.  There were other comforts of my old "house" there as well...bronze wall hangings that used to hang in the old TV room, a patch collection I spent many vacations contributing to (we used to visit a fire station on every family vacation, asking for a tour and a patch from their department), and equipment I know more about than the average bear.

"So you came all the way here just to bring us treats?" Pete asked.  "Absolutely!" I replied.

And then I told him about the Kindness Countdown and how when I first had this idea I sat down to make a list of people I wanted to spread kindness to  I told him that the St. Francis Fire Department was an obvious choice...and about how much they've all meant to me throughout my life.  Heck, one of them even played bagpipes while I walked down the aisle at my wedding! 

And then a call came in and we said our goodbyes, hugging briefly before he ran off down the hall to answer the call of duty.

At least there were cookies and cupcakes waiting there for them when they returned.

"When duty call's me, oh Lord, wherever flames may rage, give me the strength to save some life whatever be its age.  Help me embrace a little child before it is too late, or save an older person from the horror of that fate.  Enable me to be alert, and oh Lord, guide my every move, for life is so precious, please don't let us loose.  I want to fill my calling and to give the best in me, to guard my every neighbor and protect their property.  And if according to thy will, that I must give my life, then with thy protecting hand my Lord, I pray thee protect my children and my wife." - Unknown

* - After retirement, my dad became a volunteer firefighter and was recently name 2014 Firefighter of the Year!  

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