Firefighters are pros

Published 1:00 am Sunday, September 18, 2011

Let me start first by saying that I am a member of the City of Vicksburg Fire Department. I have been there for more than 15 years. I just wanted to let the readers hear a thought from one fireman about the job that I do.

This past weekend we were all asked to remember the attacks that happened in New York, Washington, D.C., and a failed one that crashed in Shanksville, Pa. As a firefighter and member of the Mississippi National Guard I feel a close connection to this terrible day in our country’s history. I serve both with an enormous amount of pride and dedication as do the other 100-plus members of the fire department and the almost countless present and past members of the U.S. Military.

The media asked us to remember the great loss our country experienced that day. I ask you not to just remember them that day, but always. The job that we do isn’t very pretty. Most people don’t even think about us until we are needed.

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When they do see us while riding in town, they will see us out getting diesel for our trucks or perhaps a bite to eat. If they see us at one of the seven fire stations here in town they may see us outside washing the fire truck, so that is the natural opinion of a large majority of the community. That is, “They don’t do anything but eat and wash their own car while they are at work.”

By the way, this is the same opinion of one of my own family members. I have heard all the jokes about firemen over these past years. People who are narrow-minded are the ones who usually tell them.

In closing, I just want to place a couple of thoughts in the readers’ heads. We work 24 hours on duty and 48 hours off duty. We do this 365 days a year. I personally have missed Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries and other family gatherings.

You are right, it was my choice to become a fireman. I am not complaining. I love it and have from day one. But at the same time I am asking you to let everybody you know who is a firefighter, professional or volunteer, how much you appreciate them. I have the best crew in the world to work with. I have the great honor to call them my brothers and sisters.

We all still feel the pain from 9/11.

Capt. Shane Quimby

Vicksburg Fire Department