Saturday, July 22, 2006
I live next to a sub-station for the all-volunteer Akron Fire Department. The station houses vintage Engine #1 from 1951 and Ladder #6. Engine #1 has been retired to the parade circuit. Ladder #6 is current and functional.
Depending on the tone of the fire alarm rung in the center of town, Ladder #6 sits idle or zooms out of the station. The rumble of the diesel engine vibrates against my windows. The swirling red lights dance down my walls. Because Ladder #6 lives on a residential street, the siren is silent until it is well on its way. At 3:17am, this is appreciated.
Every time cars screech into the parking lot, firemen fly out of their vehicles, and the engine of Ladder #6 is fired up, I rush to my window. I want to witness this call to service, this choice to shift gears on a dime, this selfless act of extending care and protection to strangers. I rush to my window to say a prayer aloud for the safety of the men who sacrifice and serve.
Because volunteer firemen are the first band of brothers. Volunteer firemen are mercy and goodness and love set in motion. They are the unsung heroes of everday living. They are the prototype of the balanced male channeling energy for the betterment of humanity. They are the reminders to live a less selfish life.