Site Last Updated
May 2, 2013
Members from the SouthSide FOOLS recently volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. Click here to check out some photos from the event!
Congratulations to Deputy Chief Jeff Janus
Named the Illinois Society of Fire Service Instructors
2012 Instructor of the Year
SouthSide FOOLS very own Mike Orrico makes his television debut this season on Chicago Fire. Way to go Mike!
This photo was taken at one of the first “Saving Our Own” classes at IFSI.
(Left to right): Tom Shervino, Dave Clark, Don Hayde, Bob Hoff, Rick Kolomay, John Hojek, Ray Hoff, John Norman,
Sal Marchese, Rick Lasky.
“Just a Fireman”
Many years ago I met a man I hadn’t seen since my brother and I went to high school with him. After the small talk was finished, he inquired of my profession and seemed pleased that I was a fireman, but when I told him my brother was the vice-president of a large firm, he replied, “Wow, George is a vice president and you’re just a fireman.”
That was over thirty-five years ago and although I have been fortunate to be promoted through the ranks to my present position that expression still irritates me because it is an insult to our profession. Recall for a moment the number of times you heard or even said to yourself, “I am just a fireman.”
Permit me to interpret, if you will, what it means to me to be “just a fireman.”
Is a person who has dedicated most of his or her adult life to his fellow man or a firefighter who is maimed or disfigured… are they “just a fireman?”
Is a man who has sacrificed precious hours away from his family or has to work an extra job to supplement his income “just a fireman?”
What about the agony of carrying a dead child in your arms or the grotesque expression of people killed in car crashes, is that “just being a fireman?”
Spending cruel hours at conflagrations in sub-zero weather when you know you have no choice but to stay and let the ice build up on your face and fire clothes, does that make you “just a fireman?”
Or what about those rotten smoky basement fires when you pray for a breath of fresh air or the other fear of staying under a truss roof not knowing when it will collapse… is that “just being a fireman?”
Can anybody (but a fireman) know the tremendous sorrow at the scene of a fire when one of their comrades is carried out in a body bag?
I don’t know of any profession, other than the military, that has given so much to his fellow man than the fire service. When we are called, we respond to the incident with just one thought in mind, and that is to serve our community.
In closing, we should always hold our head high and with dignity, proclaiming to all…
“YES, I AM ONLY A FIREMAN AND VERY PROUD OF IT!”
-- Charles J. Pierce, Chicago Fire Department
CHICAGO FD & THE NFFF
A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE INVOLVED WITH PRODUCING THIS FINE VIDEO. IT’S A MUST SEE FOR ALL FIREFIGHTERS, THEIR FAMILIES & ELECTED OFFICIALS.