The following post first appeared in 2010 on my previous blog: I first met Dan in high school. He was a Jr. firefighter at the time. He worked hard over the years, harder than anyone I know, at achieving his goal of serving as a firefighter. He even tacked on time as an EMT and police officer.
When September 11th happened, I thought of Dan and his family who serve as firefighters. They were the kind of people who perished on 9/11: salt of the earth servants who rush into a crisis without expecting anything in return. I thought we would benefit by hearing Dan’s thoughts on his work and on 9/11 in order to learn what makes folks like him tick. He has kindly agreed to share with us:
Every day I am asked the same question… “Are you crazy!?” Most of the time this question is posed by my wife or a close friend. Occasionally I hear this from the taxpayer that I serve. Usually I hear this as I doff my breathing apparatus and try to take a blow from fighting a house fire or mitigating some other conflagration.
The fact is that I am, and will always be, “crazy”. What I do, and what hundreds of thousands of public servants do every day, requires a little bit of “crazy”. What we do in public safety is done for one reason… There is a need. Why do we do it? That’s easy. We do it simply because this is what we were called to do.
Most public servants do not believe that they are any different from those who serve in other capacities. I tend to agree. My pastor does not have envious employment. His is not one without worry and stress. He is not one without sleepless nights, scary moments, and lack of answers. He is not one who will become financially wealthy from his service.
All beings have their place in servitude. Some of us have not found it yet. Some of us know where it is and refuse to go. Still others are confident in and blessed in their place of service. We have one common body. I believe public safety is the arms and legs of that body, the doers, and the action takers. Not the smartest of humanity. Not the most moral and ethical. But definitely the ones who will do whatever it takes to complete the service required of them, for the sake of the call, for the sake of us all.
On September 11, 2001 the public safety community took a tremendous lose of personnel and still did not waver. Every September we are reminded of this. Instead of remembering cowardly acts of terrorism, I choose to remember those who served with confidence, humbleness, gratitude, and self sacrifice; those who completed their assigned task.
Daniel L. Kerr Jr.