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I rode fire trucks, slid down fire poles, wore a lot of red, and made a lot of appearances.
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for fire fighters.

Delta Burke

When I was little, one of the first things I wanted to be when I “grew up” was a firefighter. That’s probably because my Dad was a firefighter!

It was cool growing up in the fire hall. Often on Sundays, when Dad was working days, Mom would take us there after church to have lunch with Dad. We’d pick up McDonald’s, and he’d buy us pop from the vending machine. While there wasn’t a pole to slide down, there were poles you could climb up…and then slide down! We got to climb on the back of the truck and sit in the driver’s seat with Dad’s hat on, while he whooped the siren or let us beep the horn. I even got to climb high into the sky on the ladder of the ladder truck, and once, ride in an old truck in the Santa Claus parade.

When I was in high school, we’d all watch to see if my Dad was on the trucks coming to investigate yet another false alarm. I felt like a celebrity!

When I was in college, I did my CPR training with the guys. They fought over who got to sit next to me so they could look off my test. They thought it was hilarious to pair me with the largest guy with the biggest beer belly to practice the heimlich procedure. Sadly, all the guys were much older than me and none of them looked like the guys in the calendar!

My Dad was a firefighter for 34 years before he was forced to retire. In many ways, I think he was ready. Many of the new volunteers were more interested in being “hot shots” rather respecting their elders and listening to the voice of experience. Who knows? Maybe Dad was a “hot shot” once upon a time too. But I doubt it. Always patient and calm, Dad was a trusted worker. Even in a small town, he handled dangerous situations. This is my Dad fighting one of the biggest fires the town every saw. It’s the only time my Mom said she was afraid for him.

1975

We saw lots of steam machinery, cars, and trains growing up.

My brother – 1973

And I think all of his grandchildren got to visit the station too.

Big Guy – 1996
Little Guy – 2007

It’s safe to say that my Dad’s love of vintage cars and trains also extended to fire trucks, and in that, we share a common bond. To this day I get excited and run to the window every time I hear a siren or see the flash of lights.

He’s a pretty cool guy!