I've always thought it was pretty cool that my brother-in-law chose to be a volunteer fire-fighter. A few years ago, I took the girls on this trip to see him and to get an idea of what fire fighters do, or at least what they use (man, the girls look tiny in those photos!).
His team is really good at what they do, and the championships were not too far from home this year, so I thought it would be fun to watch them race in person. I made the plan to attend months ago, before I knew that our only time to go would be during school.
|The girls with Uncle Russ right after one of his races|
Here's what the course looks like:
The relay races are made up of 7 tasks: a stair climb while carrying a 42 pound bundle, then hoisting 42 pounds of hose, descending the tower (touching every stair & using handrails), then "forcible entry" (hitting and moving a beam with a 9-pound mallet), running, then dragging a hose 75 feet and hitting a target with a stream of water, then the "Victim Rescue" which requires dragging a 165 pound dummy backwards 100 feet.
Here's a 1 minute video of what the races look like:
When we arrived, we said hello to Uncle Russ, found a place in the stands, and looked around at all of the fire fighters preparing to race. There were men with skipping ropes, men doing chin-ups and the girls were excited to spot several women, too. We were excited to watch the races!
But it was during the opening ceremony that we were all reminded of what this is all for. Yes, it's an impressive competition and these fire-fighters' skills are pretty impressive. They've trained for this. They're strong. They work great together as teams. As each team came out onto the course, we clapped and cheered for them.
...but then we all stood while one of them read the Firefighter's prayer and I found myself tearing up. This was the reason for it all. This is what these men and women do. They are each heroes. They are amazing.
When I am called to duty, God,
wherever flames may rage,
give me strength to save a life,
whatever be its age.
Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late,
or save an older person from
the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert,
and hear the weakest shout,
quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling,
to give the best in me,
to guard my friend and neighbor,
and protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I must answer death's call,
bless with your protecting hand,
my family one and all.
We watched a bunch of races, saw Russ' team get their best time up until that date(!) and then grabbed lunch and the girls returned to school with the excitement of the day's events. We were so proud of Uncle Russ & his team!
On Sunday at the finals, their team won an award for being the Top Volunteer Team in Canada!
|The team with their loved ones at a competition earlier this year that they won Gold at.|
As I write this entry and as I see the words of the Firefighter's Prayer once again, I am almost brought to tears again as I think about how my girls have a hero for an uncle. Each of the men on that relay team is a hero because of what they do- win or lose, place in the competition or not. Each of those men and women who serve others in this way, willing to face danger with courage, bravery, and self-sacrifice, are heroes and I am SO proud of them!
...and yes, I do feel that it was worth it for the girls to miss school for our own little field trip on Friday. I'm happy that they could see it all in person and have this memory of something special and important that their uncle does. Sometimes "real life" events are worth missing school for!