I am not a religious man but I am a firm believer in good and evil, black and white, right and wrong. I am not much for gray area and I have paid a price for such a rigid and inflexible view of the world over the years. Hence the “hardcore” in Hardcore Outdoor. That is how I was raised and how I am raising my children as well. The only difference is that I am going to make sure that my kids know that while this is the way we live our lives, everybody else in the world doesn’t necessarily play by the same set of ground rules and that it’s OK. That was something I had to figure out myself. It took me a long time to realize that John Wayne is dead and those were just movies anyway.Living your life based on a code can be a challenge, especially when you have a big mouth and aren’t afraid to be confrontational or even throw down and fight it out. Guilty as charged but at 42, I am learning to distinguish between when it makes sense to take a stand or just let it go. While I have a great deal to say on just about every subject, I will try to keep my comments about the rest of the world to a minimum.
Be that as it may, we are all aware of the struggle our fellow Americans are facing now in California. It is particularly poignant for me because we have such strong ties to the San Diego area, specifically Coronado Island. Our thoughts go out to all of those that are effected by the fires but especially to the Firefighters who are valiantly fighting to protect the public. I am reminded of something Chief Alan Brunacini of the Phoenix Fire Department said at Firefighter Paramedic Bret Tarvers funeral. “We will risk a lot to save a lot. We will risk a little to save a little but we will risk nothing at all to save that which is already lost.” Wow, try hoisting that responsibility up on your shoulders for a while and see how it rides.
On Phoenix PDs flight line with Air Evac, AZ DPS Ranger, and Mesa PD Falcon waiting to do the fly by for Firefighter Paramedic Bret Tarvers funeral.
I have a soft spot in my heart and tremendous respect for Firemen and also for our military members. I thought for a long time that I should have been one but I know now it would have been a difficult fit. Too much gray. I wish you all good luck and send you this prayer.
I wrote this one night at the hangar. I was trying to rack out on a futon couch but couldn’t get back to sleep. We had just come back from one of those infamous 1:00am calls that we never should have run on in the first place. I was feeling guilty, again, for even being there and wondering why it was that I chose risking my life to help strangers over sleeping in my own bed in my own house with my wife and kids. On the other hand I was thinking about the guys that I flew with and how much I admired them. The ASAR program was my baby. JJ had created a position for me and given me a free hand and even though it had proven very successful so far the crews were being put in riskier situations more often because I was sitting in the back seat. All of a sudden I was living the dream and wearing the Superman suit as Pendley called it. We were an honest to god, hot shit airborne search and rescue asset. Aside from the Coast Guard and a few units around the country like Air Rescue 5 in Los Angeles County, we were among a very small group that was on the cutting edge. We were by definition, elite.
Anyway, this is what I wrote. It is for the guys on the line, the guys that can’t turn back.
Instill in me the discipline to be ready for the call, anywhere, anytime. Give me your speed in my response, keen vision to find those in need of my skills, the wisdom of those who have served before me, courage to face fear and overcome it, and the strength to bring the fallen home.
And dear Lord, send your angels to watch over, protect, and comfort my family and my Crew when I cannot.
…that others may live.