Praise for Carmel FirefightersApril 16th, 2012 at 9:44 am by Eric Halvorson under Eric Halvorson's Blog
The people of Carmel know their firefighters “will never hesitate, will never falter and will never fail.” That’s part of an inspirational message shared over the weekend at a special banquet for the Carmel Fire Department. Special because it was the first time the department officially paid tribute to firefighters for their achievements.
It was also special for the appearance of Bobby Halton. He’s a nationally-respected retired fire chief who is now the Editor-in-Chief of Fire Engineering Magazine. “What we are doing here tonight matters dearly,” Halton said. “Why we are here tonight matters dearly.”
Halton appreciates the dedication and principles of firefighters. He praised them for their willingness to put the safety of others ahead of their own – all while being too humble to acknowledge any personal heroism in their deeds.
Since the department had never held an awards ceremony, proper tributes were long overdue.
For example, the department never fully recognized the loss of firefighter Skip Clark. He died from injuries in a firefighting accident more than 50 years ago. His children attended the banquet to accept the department’s Medal of Honor.
The program acknowledged case after case, year after year, of Carmel firefighters performing their duties “above and beyond normal expectations” and doing so “at a great personal risk.”
Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard said he’s never more proud of any organization than he is of the city’s fire department. He praised the firefighters for making the community safer. But, Brainard also said he hears compliments for the department’s acts of kindness.
The awards ceremony, Saturday night, acknowledged one of those acts. The department will never forget a young cancer patient named Jake McConahay. His fascination with firefighting made him special to the department’s men and women. They repaid that admiration, in part, by painting the family’s home and landscaping their yard, to make life easier during Jake’s treatments. The little boy died holding a firefighter’s badge in one hand.
That story is another sign of dedication to the community they protect. But it’s not a feature of firefighting that gets much acclaim.
Chief Bobby Halton decried the public’s – and the media’s — devotion to stories that overshadow such achievements – instead making celebrities out of people whose only claim to fame comes from their lack of character and lack of discipline.
Halton said firefighters earn praise for the right reasons. “Carmel firefighters are brave,” he said. “Carmel firefighters have morals. Carmel firefighters are heroes.”
Now, they’ve been publicly recognized to prove it.