Yesterday, was a tough one…you see receiving news of a Brother within the Fire Hall is something entirely new to me. Something I never thought would ever occur, something I never really ever put any thought or insight into, but yesterday that all changed.
Our fallen brother was a quiet, humble soul, whom never looked out for anything other then enjoying life and smiling and laughing along with family, friends and loved ones. He was very calming to be around, you knew when he arrived their would be laughs but without a word he would be able to control and maintain a situation with a nod, a smile or a chuckle.
I thoroughly enjoyed is humble jabs at teachers, as you know we work extremely hard; as he said “For a whole 6 hours a day, including two breaks and a prep”…said often but knowing him it was a subtle reminder and appreciation for having the patience and ability to be around little ones for that “Whole six hours”
I still remember and will always remember the first time I met our brother within Station #2; Port Dover. He came directly to me, shook my hand (with his enormous hand) and said “All you need to remember to be a successful Fire Fighter is this; Always think before you react and listen to your instincts, and…..keep those trucks shiny and clean!” Two things I held onto and reflected upon hearing of his passing, since I am a bit of a neat freak I loved hearing that trucks needed to be kept in order and mostly…Think and Trust your instincts; two important features to keep you safe and the others around you on any scene!
So, reflecting upon my lost brother; the Hall itself will be a somber place for a long period of time! He had a presence that was often felt but NEVER heard, he led with his many years of service by example; not boasting and or sharing stories of the past but always modeling and asking us ‘Newbies’ do you know we do this or that? Usually if we said no; he would direct us to go talk to a Captain (again laughing as if to say to those Captain’s its your job not mine….I modeled you explain). Words definitely were something he denied others from to ensure no misinterpretation would occur; he wanted to ensure we learned and understood and I thoroughly believe his impact was felt / his presence was felt with a gentle nod and grin, as if to say ‘Its all good boys we got this one’
Blogging has become a hobby of mine; I enjoy it as it gives me a means of reflection upon various things; however this is a first. Explaining the loss of a friend; a brother in the fire service is something that has really impacted me! I heard you become tight with your station, crew and they become close like family; and up to yesterday I did not realize not understand how tight we become!
I can honestly say that I would put my life in the hands of that crew, that station those brothers I have inherited upon being accepted into the fire service. I can honestly say that our loss friend will never be forgotten and I know in his own way he will always be with us; standing aside with a Colt in hand grinning and nodding at the various stories we tell. He will be there giving that gentle tap on the shoulder indicating ‘we got this one too boys’ upon entering a structure fire, walking into a dismal accident and or anything in the future that takes our breath away…that was the presence and impact he could / would infuse upon arriving on scene in his grey Ford Escape; strutting up as if there is nothing occurring ahead of him and the profound knowledge that everything would work out fine and dandy!
Last Thursday evening I recall a fellow fire fighter indicating that he just realized our fallen brothers initials were ‘BM’….ouch so many funny ways and means to go with that one; and I know I will take some slack for this but I really do not care, because he would absolutely chuckle and laugh his ass off not because BM could mean ‘bowel movement’ but because it took us so damn long to figure that out! That is just how he was; silent but enjoyed every minute of life and subtle yet we all knew when he was around!
So, Bill I would just like to say thanks! Thanks for leading by example, thanks for being that calming presence and person to watch when the going got tough! My idol has always been Steve Yzerman; The Captain (He lead by sheer example, very little words). Now Bill was not a Captain; however I seen him as one, just as I see a few others in that hall as silent leaders and role models for the newer folk!
The best advice I ever recieved upon entering into the Fire Service was; “Learn from those that lead by example and not those that cannot walk the talk”….well BM (Hehehehe yes I added it in here; Billy would be laughing now too, ease up people)…you walked the talk; you lead the best way possible and you will never be forgotten in my opinion; and pinnacle in which all others should strive for!
Watch over us in time of need, I look forward to feeling that presence in dire circumstance and that gentle tap knowing forewell that; ‘YOU got this one WITHOUT me boys’ but you are and will forever be there with us watching to ensure we get to smile, nod and chuckle about the story afterwards!
RIP my friend, thanks for showing me how close our brotherhood becomes!