WHEW!! It's over, we made it through the weekend. I was very proud of my Hero. He pulled off a great event against some odds. I don't think even he realized how much of our life was wrapped up in this until this weekend. The Hero and his buddy Shrek worked so very hard to get this off the ground and keep it going. Shrek singlehandedly sold the lions share of calendars and it was inspiring to watch him in action. They did a fabulous job and I hope they both get the credit that is due them. Even though they will each say "it wasn't us, it was everyone". Yes they had a great deal of help but they put in very long days and it really would not have happened without them.
I was amazed at how the Heroes in the Sky campaign, coupled with the attention of the press and the public, took the departments morale from an almost flatline with blips of moaning and complaining to a full charged, strongly beating heart of pride and excitement. It was awesome to watch the transformation in the guys. They all appeared a little taller by the end of the weekend. I've always said that the most important thing for a volunteer firefighter is having the respect of their peers and their community. They were able to experience that on a whole new level this weekend. They could see that it didn't matter what town was on their crest it only mattered that they were a firefighter.
One of the most touching moments of the weekend was when a tearful young woman came in with a handful of money. She wanted to show her gratitude for what they did for her brother. Her brother was a young man who lost his life in a motorcycle accident in a neighboring town. The volunteers of that town's department worked hard to save him. She needed a tangible way to express her gratitude and that opportunity came this weekend. She didn't want to purchase a calendar and her moment of contact was brief but I imagine that as much as it humbled the guys it was a cathartic moment for her. It didn't need to be the particular group of individuals that worked on her loved one, it just needed to be someone from the brotherhood of firefighters to hear her thanks.
This week is Fire Prevention Week. So while you are checking to ensure you have the proper smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and practice your escape plan remember the firefighters in your community. The odds are high that the group of brave men and women that are tasked to keep your community safe are volunteers. Show them the respect and appreciation they so richly deserve.
I'll add some pictures later... must get to my neglected house. Eek!!!!