I am getting physically sick listening to people defame my husband. And for what, having a potty mouth? Venting? Saying something he shouldn’t have said around the dinner table at the firehouse years ago before he was chief? People say stupid stuff. People regret stupid stuff. Life goes on.
Let me tell you about my husband. He has been in the Fairview Fire Dept. since 1973. He was a volunteer firefighter. He was a volunteer for nine years before getting on the paid department. As a volunteer, for nine years he stood fire watch at the Woodlands Community Temple so the worshippers were safe. He didn’t have to be there, he volunteered.
For well over thirty years, Tony ran the Fairview Explorer Post. Guess what? Again, not paid. He even had trouble with the Union because they did not want him doing this for no pay. But the kids in the community needed this program so he ignored the Union and kept on running the Explorer Post. At the same time he was Scout Master for Boy Scout Troop 67 and a Den Leader for Pack 67.
For more years than I can remember, Tony ran Christmas parties at the School for the Deaf and Union Child Day Care – now the Lois Bronz Day Care. Again, guess what? Yup, unpaid unless it happened to fall on a day he was already scheduled to work.
Tony also ran the Fire Prevention Program at the Firehouse along with his Explorers for many years. That included the puppet show, running the Sparky Car, setting up and running different educational games. The program was also run in the schools in Fairview.
Tony has spent over forty years saving lives and property. Firefighters see unimaginable things. Things most people only see in horror films or nightmares. They see bodies burned beyond recognition, somehow seems even worse when it’s the body of a tiny baby or toddler. They see bodies badly damaged or decapitated. They see people trapped in cars, badly injured and only have minutes to try and rescue them. Some die before they are reached despite heroic attempts beyond imagination.
I am ashamed to live in a town where the Town Supervisor who sits relatively safely behind a desk, has the nerve to call a hero an anti-semite because this humble hero called him a bad name when the Town Supervisor threatened to change a successfully running fire dept where this man spent forty years of his life protecting and serving. Whatever was said was said in the privacy of the firehouse kitchen. Had these men just come from a fire? A heart attack victim, stroke victim, horrific accident only to hear again that Mr. Feiner wanted to take their jobs away from them and conceivably, services away from their community? Who knows? It was said in the privacy of the kitchen. Only those there truly know what the circumstances were at that moment. It was not a public comment, it was said in a moment of anger. And then forgotten because life goes on and possibly the next call came in and they were on the run again. Maybe they got to eat, maybe they didn’t. That is their life. They eat together, they live together, they are a family.
Let’s talk a little bit about what Tony has done specifically for Darryl. Darryl’s son was murdered. Tony spent countless hours with Darryl and his family making sure they had everything they needed. Darryl wanted to put up holiday decorations at the firehouse in honor of his son – his wish was granted. Darryl wanted to store his cars at the firehouse, again, done. Darryl didn’t need to come back to work until he was ready after the death of his son. His brother firefighters picked up the slack for him, including Tony. When Darryl pulled the knife on the guy in the firehouse parking lot, his brother firefighters talked him out of hurting the guy and then helped make the problem go away because that’s what brothers do.
Unfortunately, Tony also worked down at 9/11 on the piles. Firefighting is a killer of a job. So Mr. Feiner, as you sit comfortably behind your desk pointing fingers and defaming characters, just be thankful that if you had a heart attack and Tony was there, he would save your life despite the fact that he is losing his own to a 9/11 cancer.