People worth dying for…


If you’re on the job, have you ever thought about it that way? It’s a powerful statement.

What exactly IS worth dying for? A building? If so, at what value does it become “worth it”? How about the people in your 1st due? Are THEY worth dying for? Do you even know them? Do you know their morals… their ethics? Do they share the same views and beliefs as you or your family?  How about the folks over in the “lower income” section of town … are they worth dying for?

What about the Brothers and Sisters next to you? Are they “worth it”? I’m struggling today with the word “worth”. Who gives me (us) the right to decide …. to choose?

It’s on my mind tonight because of a piece I watched on this mornings news. I’ll add the video below …. TAKE THE TIME TO WATCH IT and you’ll understand where I’m going with the rest of this post.

Pretty powerful huh? After having met these women, that solider felt as if he had met somebody “worth” dying for. With no disrespect intended, I wonder who he thought he was fighting for before he met these ladies. He certainly didn’t think that all Americans where like her.

I say that because somewhere, deep inside him; he was willing to give his life for another not even knowing who that other may be. He made that decision when he enlisted or at least I hope he knew that’s what he did.

We’ve made that same decision (The Fire Service) but on another “front”. Our battles are here on the streets of every small town and big city in America. I remember the look on “Rookie Randy’s” face when I had that talk with him. I told him that I would do everything within my power to keep him safe but further explained that our job is inherently dangerous and that if need be, I would place him directly in harms way.

I’ve thought about it every day I’ve reported for duty. I think we have to. Leaving the house in the mornings knowing you may not return is what hopefully keeps us on our game.

Everyday I work I meet people “worth” dying for. It’s the people in my territory …. the people I’m sworn to protect. It’s also the Brothers and Sisters I work with … for me, they’re all “worth it”  but I don’t think about it that way. For me, it’s doing my job …. it’s doing “the job” (fully understanding that part of our job is making sure everyone goes home).

Kids like the little fella I wrote about back in October 2005. Although his incident wasn’t “fire related”, there are many other kids just like him in my territory.

Click to read my previous post “RAMBLINGS” and the follow up post “UPDATE”

Is he “worth it”? What about his grandmother? For me, she is too. I don’t have the luxury of being able to pick and choose.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have made a few “grabs” in my career. I never thought about who it was I was going in after. Not about how they lived, what they believed or what they’ve done with their lives etc. Is that necessarily fair to my wife and kids back home??? Maybe not but it’s the life I choose. It’s what we do.

The point I’m getting to here is the 19 members killed in the Yarnell Hill fire this past Sunday. Do you think they thought about the “worth” or “value” of the people or property they sat out to protect?

Read a short Bio on these 19 members by clicking HERE

I think these Brothers were focused on the task at hand. I’d bet they were focused on doing their job in hopes of protecting the lives and property of the residents of Yarnell Hill as well as the Brothers and Sisters battling beside them.

CBS reporter Carter Evans wants to know more.

I can’t believe this reporter got this close to one of the surviving wives this soon and asked the questions he did.

CBS aired an interview Evans did with Andrew Ashcraft’s widow Juliann.

Andrew was 29 years old, a husband and father of 4.

More on Ashcroft by clicking HERE

He wanted to know “What do you tell your kids?”(1 min 48 second mark). He also asked her (at the 2 minute 15 second mark) “What do you think was going through his mind?” !!! Did he mean before he deployed his shelter or afterwards while laying there waiting for it to hit? Why would he even ask her such questions? It’s obvious that Juliann Ashcroft is a firefighter’s wife because she handled the interview well. She shouldn’t have had to endure it. The interview video is below ….

Again, the word “worth” comes back to my mind and the question of who applies that “worth”. Juliann said she wants the world to know that Andrew and the other 18 Hotshots killed that day are “HEROES”. I TOO BELIEVE THEY WERE! I believe we all are.

There is no “illusion” to death. It’s real and there’s nothing “easy” about it. Unfortunately, we in the fire service see it from all sides and directions.  I wrote about it in a previous post linked below….

Click HERE to read “The Illusion of Death”

I don’t have the answers to “worth” “death” or any of it…. nor will I pretend to. All of us are hurting in one way or another following this monumental and tragic loss and each will deal with it in our own ways.

Some, on the other hand; are praising these deaths and not in a positive way.

Chief Billy Goldfeder alerted us of the plan of the Westboro Baptist Church to “picket” the funerals!

Their web site boasts statements such as “Praise God for the Arizona Wild Fire that killed 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots!”, “Thank God for the fires” and “Firefighters in Hell”!!!!

Just click the picture to the right or HERE to view the full page newsletter.

It makes me SICK TO MY STOMACH and has me wondering if it’s “worth it” for me to fly out and explain it to them face to face. The sad news is that this will not be the first time Westboro has (planned or actually) picketed a firefighter funeral.

Fortunately, a “Sea of Blue” (a large line of Firefighters in their dress blue uniforms) has always shielded the families of the fallen from having to see the display.

How many other people in the world think this way? How many others think this way about us and the job we do? About the sacrifices we and our families make on a day to day basis? Looking at it that way …. now do you think it’s all “worth it”? Or, are you like me and could give a shit what the Westboro Baptist Church  or those like them think of what or why we do what we do.

I’m on the job today. I’ve been here for 22 years, my dad and many like him for hundreds of years before that. I’ll be here until I can’t be anymore and there are thousands like me…. standing vigilant.  We are making a difference everyday in some form or another. Those 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots did and that’s all the “worth” I need.

Stay SAFE and in House!

Captain Wines