Everyone in the fire service has made a difference. Every single one of us has saved a life. Maybe it was through counseling someone on the way to the ER, by administering CPR, slamming Narcan on a patient that overdosed, or pulling them out of a fire. We all make a difference.
On Thursday, June 27th, 2013, our Chief of Department, Assistant Chief, and Deputy Chief recognized the individuals on my shift who had documented cases of rescues from fires. One individual thought he was just extinguishing a vehicle fire when he heard a man start to scream, but he did not hesitate to ACT. Several others were conducting searches through smoke filled structures when they came across a victim, and they ACTED. These are cases that we don’t have time to stop and think…we MUST ACT.
I sit on the Employee Recognition Committee and put in hours of work along with the rest of the committee on sorting through reports, typing up memos, questioning individuals about the calls, and researching each incident. We were playing catch up for what should have been done years ago. For many years now, our department has not had any type of recognition award in the works until our committee began working on it.
All the Chief’s Award recipients received a Letter of Commendation from the Chief of Department detailing the incident, and thanking them for their self-sacrifice, honor, bravery, and courage displayed while performing their actions when they had to ACT. In addition to the letter, each recipient also received their name on a plaque with the date of the incident. They also received a Chief’s Award challenge coin. Only individuals who receive the award are presented with this limited edition coin by NM-Coin LLC. The coins are very nice, and make the perfect piece for the recipient of the award.
I have attached a few photos, but there were several more who received awards. All of the recipients downplay the actions that they took, and reply with “it was really nothing” or “I was just doing my job.” In the fire service as a whole, I think that we downplay ourselves when sometimes we need to give each other that pat on the back. It doesn’t have to be a huge awards ceremony, but the reality is…we make a difference. We need to step up and be recognized when we step up and ACT. Even though all the rescued victims did not survive, without that firefighter pulling them out…they wouldn’t have had a chance. We are here to give them that chance.
Congratulations to ALL the recipients of the Chief’s Award and I hope that you take HONOR in what you received.
I know when I received this letter from FDNY Battalion Poulin after our work with the Hurricane Sandy victims…I felt HONORed among many other things. I was speechless as I sat and read over the letter from an individual that I look up to so much. It was my honor to travel to New York for two trips to assist those firefighters in need. I wasn’t asking for a letter recognizing my efforts, and I sure didn’t go to get recognized. I went because I knew that they would come help me. It’s what we do…we all make a difference.