So what is the life of a firefighter really like?

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This poem by an unknown author hits home and explains the life of a St. John Firefighter.


A firefighter’s gloves hold many things,

From elderly arms to a kid’s broken swing.

From the hands they shake and the backs they pat,

To the tiny claw marks of another treed cat.

At 2 a.m. they are filled with the chrome,

From the DWI who was on her way home.

And the equipment they use to roll back the dash

From a family of six she involved in the crash.

The brush rakes in spring wear the palms out,

When the wind does a “90 degree” to fill them with doubt.

The thumb of the glove wipes the sweat from the brow

Of the face of a firefighter who mutters “What now?”

They hold inch and three quarters flowing one seventy five,

So the ones going in, come back out alive.

When the regulator goes then there isn’t too much

But the bypass valve they eagerly clutch.

The rescue equipment, the ropes, the C-collars,

The lives that they save never measured in dollars,

Are the obvious things firefighter’s gloves hold,

Or, so that is what I’ve always been told.

But there are other things firefighter’s gloves touch,

Those are the things we all need so much.

They hold back the rage on that 3:00 am call.

They hold in the fear when your lost in a hall.

They hold back the pity, agony, sorrow.

They hold in the desire to “Do it tomorrow”.

A glove is just a glove till it’s on a firefighter,

Who works all day long just to pull an all-nighter.

And into the foray they charge without fear,

At the sound of a “Help!” they think that they hear.

When firefighter’s hands go into the glove,

It’s a firefighter who always fills it with love.

Sometimes the sorrow is too much to bear,

And it seeps the glove and burns deep “in there.”

Off come the gloves when the call is done,

And into the pocket until the next run.

The hands become lonely and cold for a bit,

And shake just a little thinking of it.

And we sit there so red eyed with our gloves in our coats,

The tears come so fast that the furniture floats.

We’re not so brave now; our hands we can’t hide,

I guess it just means that we’re human inside.

And though some are paid and others are not,

The gloves feel the same when it’s cold or it’s hot.

To someone you’re helping to just get along,

When you fill them with love, you always feel strong.

And so when I go on my final big ride,

I hope to have my gloves by my side.

To show to St. Peter at that heavenly gate,

‘Cause as everyone knows,


– Author Unknown

Michael Heath is President of the St. John Parish Professional Fire Fighters. He can be contacted at 504-799-8199.