firefighters at nautilus teachings

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today
i held in my hands
the helmet of
a fireman…
serving Cape Canaveral
E52, E53, E54
T52, D53
the
“Tasmanian Devils…”
he has many helmets
each one all singed
from the fires
he has battled
throughout his
service.
the weight
is heavy
yet the memories
of all the fires
seemed weightless…
a man of passion
a deep down need
to save lives,
he is a wave rider,
who on the side
shaped surfboards
his whole life
for friends
and family…
now retired
he continues to
bring beauty to
wood and foam
his signature
a flame…
his words,
“wanna paint this?”
as he held up his hat.
my reaction,
“never… this is sacred…”
we exchanged smiles.
i believe he knew,
i understood…
this man is a dear friend
our ours,
his beautiful wife,
sweet and kind…
together –
they
are
unbreakable…
i see him in the
grocery store
sometimes-
always smiling,
at peace
and sometimes
i wish we could sit
so he could tell me
his stories
of his passion
to fight fires
save lives…

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was he ever sad?
felt helpless?
how many lives
did he save?
but i would never cross
that line
because what he holds,
to me
is
sacred.
there is another fireman
who’s hands are so large
and strong,
he once picked
up a a 35 gallon
garbage can
filled with ice
like it’s a feather…
this man,
this sweet
big hearted
guy filled with strength
was there
at
911…
from Queens, New York
they are the
“flaming skulls”
L-116 (ladder)
E-261 (engine)
he met my d,
in the airport…
he flying home,
d, flying up to help
in any way he could
to honor his grandfather
Captain Billy Burke,
FDNY…
immediately
they became brothers…
to this day
they are bonded
in a way
i could never
understand.
but i love this guy.
he is a
“gentle giant”
his sacrifice
immeasurable
for he gave his life
to save those
who survived
the worst attack
against our
American soil..

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two firemen
from different backgrounds
each believing,
each living
in the knowing
their presence
was not just powerful
but they were given the ability
to save lives…
they waved
their right
to live
by vowing
to lay down their lives
to save others…
who does this?
my cousin,
who i think of as my sister
has two sons
who are firefighters
in Chicago….
i wonder,
does she worry about
her sons?
Gurnee Fire
Station 1
Truck 1331
and the other
a candidate
in search of his
firehouse home…
i am thinking,
yes…
the powerful
strong women
that raised these sons or married them:
men, who learned
to put others first-
WOWZA!
i do not know
their individual stories
what i do know
is they are amazing men
who risk their lives daily
to
save
us…
they fearlessly
run into
burning homes
they pry people
from car crashes,
dive into waters
breathing life
into the dying
all done
selflessly
ever aware of the
imminent dangers they face,
thinking,
‘i could die…’
this
is
their
commitment.
there is not a day
i do not think
of pulling over
to let a firetruck
pass
i love when they drive
through our hood
allowing us
regular peeps
to wave at them
thinking to myself,
‘i wish i had super powers,
like them…’
my mind drifts back
to his hat…
the weight of it
the strength of it
what it represents…
it makes me feel small
and also assures me
no matter what
there will always be
a soft smile
a strong hand
a big heart
if ever i need,
to save me
in a time of need…
and for this gift
i am eternally grateful…

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