The Oxford Dictionary lists brotherhood as:
the relationship between brothers.
the feeling of kinship with and closeness to a group of people or all people:“a gesture of solidarity and brotherhood”
an association, society, or community of people linked by a common interest, religion, or trade
While all of these definitions may be correct, I’d like to write about a recent personal experience that proves to everyone that the BROTHERHOOD that many question, is still very strong!
Yesterday morning, I received a phone call from a co-worker, and I immediately knew something was wrong. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he was worried, scared, and had called me for a reason. Within the first few seconds of the conversation, he told me that he was driving to Myrtle Beach, SC, where his wife, kids, and in-laws were involved in a serious accident. His voice was trembling as he asked for prayers, and requested that I notify our IAFF Local members to keep his family in his prayers.
Those of you not familiar, we live in the North Eastern corner of Tennessee and he had about a 5-6 hour drive ahead of him. He continued to tell me that he had communication with his in-laws and that his wife and kids had a few potential serious injuries. Knowing him to be the great father and husband that he is, I knew that it was killing him not to be there.
So, I made a call…
Cpt. Willie Wines (IronFiremen.com) was on vacation in Myrtle Beach, SC, and if there was one person that could provide advice… it would be him. He immediately answered his phone and told me that he had just spent time with the brothers of Horry County Fire and Rescue a few days before. He wrote about the visit with Chief Cline and his personnel here in a post titled, Yea…I’ve gone to fires. While Willie immediately offered to head to the hospital, he also reminded me that a mutual friend of ours, Tim McCloskey, was on-duty in Conway, SC, where the accident had occurred.
Within a few minutes, several important phone calls had taken place. Cpt. Wines spoke with Tim, who was familiar with the incident. Tim reached out to their IAFF Local, who as I understand it, notified Horry County IAFF Local 4345.
As I communicated back with my co-worker, he insisted that he was a few hours out and that he couldn’t think of anything that he needed…but these brothers insisted.
A Chief with Horry County told Tim that Horry County Engine 7 (Little River) was headed to the Emergency Room…
Now, to think that within a matter of 10-15 minutes, a chain reaction of telephone calls took place, and now, an Engine Company from a department 5 hours away was already enroute to the Emergency Room to ensure that the family was okay. That is BROTHERHOOD.
The fact that one common bond, the fire service, is all that everyone involved has in common. That is BROTHERHOOD.
The Captain on the Engine spoke with my co-worker to let him know that 1) his family was being taken care of at the ER. 2) to have a safe trip down to SC. 3) that if he needed ANYTHING at all, he better let them know. THAT IS BROTHERHOOD.
I feel confident in saying that there are very few professions in the United States that this exact scenario would happen with. While I am still gathering information, I would like to personally thank Cpt. Wines, Tim McCloskey, the City of Conway Fire, Horry County Fire and Rescue, and the IAFF Locals involved. Also, I had several brothers reach out on social media that were located in and around the area. I speak for my coworker in saying that it meant the world to him and his family. I hope that others can learn from cases similar to this, and I can assure everyone that if the same were to happen in Northeast Tenneessee…we will be sure to return the same favor and pass it on.
BROTHERHOOD: It is just a phone call away…