Back in 1976, I received this plastic helmet for my third birthday.
That toy helmet is the closest I ever got to becoming a fireman. One of my best friends, however, continued down that path.
In the early 90s while I was busy delivering pizza, flunking out of college, and wondering what I wanted to do with my life, my friend Andy already knew: he wanted to be a fireman. In addition to working two full time jobs (delivering packages for UPS every day and delivering pizzas every night), Andy was also volunteering at his local fire department. I know how many hours he put in back then because the two of us were roommates, sharing a one bedroom apartment at the time.
That was back in 1992. Today in 2012, Andy is still with the Mustang, Oklahoma Fire Department. Only these days he’s not a volunteer; he’s a Lieutenant, and in 2011 Andy was named Mustang Legion’s Firefighter of the Year. I feel proud and honored to count Andy as one of my closest friends.
Last year in our local home town parade, my son Mason got to ride along with Andy in the cab of his firetruck. While riding shotgun, Mason wore a toy firemen’s helmet, similar to the one I had as a kid.