" The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by
dust, sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short time and time again; who knows the great enthusiasms;
the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthwhile cause; who, at best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement;
and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and
timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. "
President Teddy Roosevelt
( 1901-1909 )
Firefighters have a special personality, special training and special equipment. We accept challenges and
expose ourselves to situations that very few people who work in non-emergency fields would even consider. We frequently
perform extraordinary tasks that benefit the lives of our fellow human beings. We are subject to the stresses of life and the
effects of being exposed to excessive danger, destruction and human misery. Firefighters have long endured extremes of
human stress without relief and it has a negative impact on a lot of us. We have a much higher rate of divorce and
suicide than the average population. Many of us suffer from chronic sleep disturbances, distressing dreams, intrusive thoughts
and unwanted memories. Chronic physical injuries, anger, depression, frustration and anxiety bring some of us to leave
prematurely with damaged bodies and bruised minds. Some turn to alcohol, a few try counseling, some use humor as a coping
mechanism and others rely on their spirituality to get them through. We save lives because we've seen too much death and we
have a special bond with children because we have held small bodies that will never laugh again. We cannot describe
to our families the images locked in our heads after years of witnessing repeated gruesome scenes.
Our life spans are
shorter than normal, with lung cancer and heart attacks being the leading causes of early death. Firefighters are
completely dedicated, highly motivated, compassionate, well trained, action oriented risk takers that are obsessive in their
desire to do a perfect job. We live with the fear that we will never do enough to deserve the love, appreciation
and respect of our friends, family and work associates.
Firefighters are held to a higher standard and a higher degree of accountability and rightfully so.
The citizens of our community depend on us for their safety and the children look to us for role models that display exemplary
behavior and good character. Firefighters are human beings and being human means that we will inevitably make mistakes...just
like any other segment of the population. We so completely dedicate ourselves to meeting the needs of the community, we often
times neglect our own needs and that leads to trouble.
I am in no way justifying inappropriate or inexcusable behavior
as those that engage in it will have to pay a price for doing so. I am just attempting to give some insight as to why things
sometimes go wrong in an imperfect world. Most of us are physically fit but we need your prayers in order to stay psychologically
and emotionally fit for public service. Whether it be a structure fire, medical emergency, water rescue, vehicular extrication,
haz-mat spill, gas leak or building collapse, we will quickly respond and provide assistance in every way possible. This is
what we are trained to do and we derive great satisfaction from being able to help you in your time of need.
Deputy Chief Brian Swanner
Marion Fire Dept.