Why would any member of a fire department want to leave the department as other than a member in good standing?
Why would you want to leave all of your good work for a group that you once held so close to your heart to a letter from the department severing the relationship?
Do we stay on until we get upset enough and mad enough to quit?
Do we continue to believe that we are a teenager in the body of a 50-Something as we chalk up yet another injury?
Have we reached a juncture where we talk a litany of accomplishments over the years, but haven’t attended a training session in over a year?
Are we “turning it over to the young guys”, but not to the extent that they can tell you anything?
Are you less helpful, but more critical?
Do you find yourself talking about all the calls that you used to go on as you make fewer and fewer calls; the ones that you now cherry pick?
Do you think that you have earned special treatment, purchased with your years of service and are upset because you must follow the guidelines like everyone else?
Do you believe that your officer’s rank is a life-long appointment and that leadership is what the chief does?
Why does reality only set in after you have let your passion, skills, attendance and fire department relationships erode and then overshadows your time served?
What prevents us from planning our time with the department to the eventuality that we allow for participation through another avenue that is every bit as pivotal to the successes of the fire department?
Instead; we “force the hand” of our once-called/so-called “brothers” to push us over and then OUT. Where it could have been a happy and memorable moment, populated by platitudes, testimonials and well-deserved recognition, it has developed into a sour source of bitterness and bad feelings.
Could there be this confusion over the notion that to remain on a fire department, we must be a “member in good standing” and it has nothing to do with getting off of the department? In other words; the priority of membership and being in good standing does not apply to “non-members” or “former members” apparently.
Is it important that we cut the chord as a firefighter WITH firefighters to eliminate any lingering effects; sort of an “all or nothing” assault on our sensibilities?
Cut it clean/cut it quick; right?
We think that we don’t want to “just hang around” the fire station, even though that is exactly what we have been doing for the last ten years, along with missing meetings, training, fundraisers, open houses, equipment checks and parades.
When you belong to a fire department, you are part of a group that is driven by teamwork.
It is an organization that is structured.
It is a culture that breathes rarified air.
Unfortunately; you can only stay as long as you contribute. That doesn’t only mean the physical stuff. There is plenty of other work to do besides riding the truck.
You do it within a framework and under the terms of your by-laws and SOGs.
But, you can leave on your own terms and with your head held high.
It doesn’t have to be with middle finger extended!
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