Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4
It seems we just finished celebrating my son Josh’s high school graduation, and we’re already well underway with college enrollment. Last week, we met the Fire Science department head and toured one of the fire houses the college uses for hands-on training. Josh is a little ahead of the game since he’s taken several fire courses in our county and has been a volunteer firefighter for almost three years.
During Josh’s high school years, he wasn’t the only teen on our volunteer force, but some who wanted to join couldn’t. I watched with a little amusement and a whole lot of sympathy as a few teen boys were hampered by well-meaning parents. Of course, I know the feeling of not wanting my son to see mangled bodies in traffic fatalities or other home accidents, nor do I necessarily love the idea of him charging into burning buildings or working in the midst of an out-of-control brush fire. He's experienced all these things, and at some point in his career, he may face the shadow of death himself or with his fellow firefighters or citizens he’s trying to protect. But it’s a reality I dealt with early on, and I cover him with prayer when he races out the door to a call.
Regardless of the fear, so many things can destroy our youth, and I’m sure firefighting is at the bottom of the list.
Josh is so excited to be on a path to becoming a career firefighter. I’m excited for him. J I can’t let myself worry about the what ifs. Firefighting is more than a career. It’s a calling. All you have to do is hang out at a fire house or watch firefighters in action, and you’ll see this is so.
This week brought to the forefront the dangers firefighters face every day in this nation. Nineteen firefighters of the Granite Mountain Hot Shots, an elite firefighting crew, perished in Arizona’s massive wildfire on Sunday. Sixty-two firefighters have lost their lives in the line of duty in 2013. This is the third deadliest wildfire in U.S. history for firefighters and the most lost in a single incident since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
According to the U.S. Fire Service:
Fire statistics: (2011)
· 1,100,450 firefighters protected the United States in 2011.
- 344,050 (31%) were career firefighters and
- 756,040 (69%) were volunteer firefighters.
· Two-thirds (66%) of fire department responses were medical calls in 2011.
· A fire department responds to a fire every 23 seconds.
Firefighter injuries (2011)
· There were 70,090 firefighter injuries in 2011.
· 30,505 of all firefighter injuries in 2011 occurred during fireground operations. Other firefighter injuries by type of duty include: responding to, or returning from an incident (3,870); training (7,515); non-fire emergency (14,905); and other on-duty activities (13,295).
· There were 64 firefighter deaths in 2012.
A Fireman's Life
A fireman's life is one big surprise,
Usually he laughs, sometimes he cries.
There's always stress, toil and strife,
Hoping he's good enough to save just one life.
His wife [or mom] understands when he misses dinner,
If he runs out of church, don't think he's a sinner.
Answering a call is tops on his list,
Regretting each one he's ever missed.
He tries and tries, but can't make us see,
The happiest men still work for free.
Jumping from bed, fighting the cold,
Knowing what to do, without being told.
He rushes to the station, jumps on a truck.
Depending on skill, never on luck.
Putting his life on the line, for an unknown friend,
Hoping and praying, it won't be the end.
"The Bravest Men in the World," the title is fitting,
They all do their best, never come close to quitting.
Next time you see them, all their lights blinking,
Take just a minute, to think what they're thinking.
It's a hard job, so show them you care,
And help them out, with a little prayer.
-- by Daniel S. Driscoll –
Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Even though I walk through the valley
Of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I'm caught in the middle
Of the storms of this life
I won't turn back, I know You are near
Please take a few moments to lift up in prayer the families of the fallen firefighters, as well as the public servants, firefighters, and police officers who put their life on the line every day for us. In addition to the permanent prayer list at the top of the blog:
Prayer requests this week:
· A gentleman asks for God to provide a way for him to see and talk to his kids.
· After undergoing months of grueling chemotherapy for stage 3 breast cancer, Beth is undergoing a mastectomy Wednesday morning. Please pray for her surgeons, the hospital staff, and Beth for a successful surgery.
· From Betty: Please pray for my nephew, Johnray, and his wife, Christian. They just had their first baby (my great niece – beautiful Mia) and thank the Lord the baby is doing great but Mommy is not. She started having a ton of pain within hours of delivery and they thought she had gallstones yet when the doctor finally came to see her tonight he now says he is not sure and ordered a MRI. She is in so much pain she can’t even nurse Mia. Also my nephew is having problems at work and is worried about his job if he has to take off again on Monday. Please pray for this young family!
· A Christian mom has a very young daughter with cancer. Please lift this family up in prayer, that God may provide comfort, strength, wisdom, and healing as they go through this trial. (I hope to be able to share more details on this family next week, but for now God knows who this is.)
If you have a prayer need, please leave a comment or e-mail me confidential requests. I’d love to pray for you.
©Laura Hodges Poole