It’s the 20-year anniversary of our first date this October 15. Ton o’memories. But of late I seem to be lingering on my husband’s life-long commitment to setting and attaining his goals. Of course this is also due to the fact that he just made Fire Chief. But in watching him for the past 20 years this attribute may rub off a little on me, and, hopefully, more so for the impressionable seven-year-old around the house.
To those of you that need a little proof as to what I mean consider this little story. A couple of weeks back Eddie was at the National Fire Academy in Maryland. (And for once I did NOT call him with an emergency at home while the “guys/Chiefs” still told him I had. He called me at work, out of breath, worried, as to what had befallen the Bushman household only to find that he was, all over again, heralded in as the new “rookie” Chief by typical firefighter joksters.)
Anyhoo, Ed took off for the weekend to meet up with his cousin Sean and sister-in-law Katherine to what promised to be a hurried 2-day tour of Washington D.C. Of course any tour given by this couple promised to be an excursion complete with written itinerary. Eddie faced the challenge, and the promised Ethiopian food, with gusto.
At the end of the weekend he was rewarded with, well I guess you could call it, a reward. Shawn and Katherine had prepared a framed plaque to commemorate his recent chief-dom. There were two “badges” adorning the matted and expertly framed piece of art. The first was gun-metal gray and read the words, CHIEF, Kasota Fire Department that had been previously owned by their mutual grandfather, Elmer Olson. Shawn, remarkably and unselfishly, had opted to give away this family heirloom to Eddie.
The second “badge” below was a full-color likeness of our L.A. City seal, complete with the city’s incorporation date of 1886, commemorating Eddie’s promotion. And then the kicker, Katherine, with her special talent for writing had this sentiment inscribed:
From the Kasota stone of the Minnesota prairie to the sun-drenched beaches of the California Coast, the achievement and honor of Chief is once again.
Every day, not just the hot summer months, or during the Santa Ana winds firefighters and their Chiefs are setting goals and achieving them. And what may seem to be a personal goal, maybe even a family one, encompasses much more. It’s a goal they set for us.
During 9-11, another date in my memory that I have shared with Eddie, not only did I have to watch my television until I was bleary-eyed I had to watch Eddie too. I could only imagine other fire-fighter wives feeling the same as I did. Grateful and guilty that our husbands were home with us. while they felt hog-tied to their seats, powerless to stop, help or rescue what they’ve spent their lives training for. As Eddie put it so painfully at the time, it was like a football game that he felt forced he was “benched” during.
To our firefighters, and chiefs, that couldn’t meet their goals that day I say, tragically, there will be other days. Other days where militia is replaced my firefighters. In a time in history where heros will be made of them all.