Be the change you want to see in the world April 22, 2012

By on April 25, 2012

For as long as my memory can be recalled, one thing that has been a part of my life was the excitement and happiness I felt after helping someone else. I have my family, friends and teachers to thank for instilling these values. Now I have the Lititz Fire Department, and the dedicated volunteers who share a similar passion, supplying me with an outlet and support system to continue helping those who live in my new hometown.

Stop reading and take a moment to think about one childhood memory that instantly puts a smile on your face. For me, this was the sound of my local volunteer fire department alert whistle and the green (not the norm) fire trucks speeding past my house. From these moments, I was instantly hooked and could not wait for my chance to become a firefighter. In my previous hometown of Lehighton, I started learning basic firefighting skills while in college. As my career moved me away from my friends and family, and I settled into my new hometown of Lititz, I felt as if pieces of my passion were missing.

The thinking aspect of my decision to join the Lititz Fire Department was much more complex than the actual process. With a few painless clicks on the website, I submitted a request for a fire department representative to contact me. My request was quickly fielded and I received an e-mail from Mike Michael (Assistant Fire Chief) asking me to stop in for a visit. As is the case with many local fire departments, Monday nights are denoted as "Drill Nights." That very next Monday, I was off to meet Mike as well as many other members. Being the new guy (or girl) can bring some eyebrow raising and head turning, but I am happy to say none of this was my experience. I was immediately welcomed and introduced to everyone by Deputy Chief Mike Smith. I was then asked if I wanted to ride along to observe a drill. Within 10 minutes of meeting everyone, I was sitting in the back of a similar type of fire truck that triggered such excitement as a young boy.

Over the course of the next few weeks, I would show up to drill night and learn about the internal workings and personalities of the department. Following an informative and friendly meeting with some of the chiefs and officers, my name was voted on for acceptance as a probationary firefighter. Being that I am writing a journal based on my experiences, I guess you know how the vote went.

Immediately following the meeting, my phone was set up to receive text alerts of any incoming calls, I was given basic safety gear to wear, but the moment that sticks most with me is the welcoming congratulations and handshakes I received from so many of the department members. I am now one month into my three-month probationary period, during which I can attend drills and calls as an observer to learn about the procedures of the department. I have been truly impressed by the level of knowledge and skill these volunteers display.

I have had many interesting experiences in the small amount of time I have been a member, from watching two automobiles being completely cut apart and dissembled, to seeing other local fire departments join forces with Lititz in training to simulate an actual building fire with victims. I am very excited about the journey that lies ahead of me as Lititz’s newest member, and even more excited to have an opportunity to share my story with those in our community in the hopes that many of you out there may have a similar childhood memory or passion for helping that causes you to be the change you want to see in your community, causing you to become a proud member of your local emergency organization. More ROOKIE DIARY, page A14

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