As many of you know by now, Colorado Springs has been hit with another devastating fire. A year ago, almost to the day, a wildfire came roaring through a couple of the neighborhoods here in Colorado Springs, burning down 364 homes. The Waldo Canyon Fire was the most devastating fire of Colorado ever. I wrote about it here. Well, on Tuesday, June 11th, just two weeks shy of the Waldo Canyon Fire, another fire started in the Northeast part of Colorado Springs. The Black Forest Fire would take the title of most devastating fire in Colorado ever, after it destroyed over 500 homes and over 14,000 acres of Ponderosa pine trees. Once again, our family was affected by this fire, but this time it was my daughters’ cousin’s home that was destroyed. My heart is breaking for them as they begin the process of rebuilding the home that they built themselves a few years ago.
In the midst of all the loss, the anger and the heartbreak, are some men and women that really don’t get the credit that they deserve. Firefighters came from all over the United States to help contain this fire (and all the other fires happening in our state as I write this!). These men and women leave their homes, their families and their lives to help serve and protect people that most of them will never even meet. They have big hearts and it is shown in what they do.
My daughter babysits for a fireman’s family. I see how hard it is on the little ones to see Daddy leave for weeks at a time. I see how hard it is for mommy to take care of two little ones while her husband is out saving the world. BUT neither one of them complains. He loves his job and she is very proud of him.(now the kiddos do cry when Daddy leaves, but that’s justified!) Every day they sacrifice for people that will never know all that they do.
His wife was telling me one day that sometimes they are out fighting fires like this one for days or weeks, without benefit of showers or doing laundry! They work for 12-16 hours a day, and then sleep in tents on the ground at night. Can you imagine?! I can certainly imagine, and I know that is not what I call living!
Here in Colorado Springs, during the Waldo Canyon Fire and now the Black Forest Fire, some of the citizens of Colorado Springs have gathered near the command center with signs, goodies and cheering to welcome these brave men and women when they get off of their shifts fighting the fires. These guys would come out of the field after working for 12-16 hours, and walk around the crowds, posing for pictures and thanking US for being there! Amazing! While at the final shift change during the BFF, I was speaking with one of the firemen that was here from Minnesota. He told us that they had never seen the kind of support from people that they had gotten in Colorado Springs, even though he’s fought fires all over the nation. Really!??! That made me sad….and angry. Sad that these men and women give so much, and receive so little appreciation. It makes me angry that as a society we are so wrapped up in our own lives that we can’t stop to thank those that make our lives better, and in some instances, save our homes and our possessions. I know how easy it is to do that. Since my life was saved by some firemen when I had my gallbladder incident, I’ve been meaning to take some homemade brownies or cookies or something to the firemen that saved my life, but I haven’t made time to do it. I am ashamed of myself and this was a stark reminder that we need to appreciate those public servants that are there for us in time of need.
There is something very wrong in this world when we celebrate athletes that beat their girlfriends and cheat on their wives. Or applaud celebrities that get caught shoplifting or get arrested for possession of cocaine. When we support these people by attending their concerts, their sporting events and by watching their movies, are we telling them that they are our heroes?! When did we get so…so…misguided?! There used to be a time when we revered and looked up to firemen and police officers. A time when little boys dreamed of growing up to be firefighters and police officers. Have we become so politically correct now that little boys can no longer dream it because God forbid they pretend they’re carrying a gun or an ax?!?! I would much rather have a son of mine dream of being a firefighter rather than a basketball player. Where have our values gone?!
So. To all of you firefighters across this great country of ours, and particularly to those who helped save our own Black Forest, I say….”Have I ever told you you’re my heroes?” Well, if I haven’t, I apologize and today I say:
YOU ARE MY HEROES!