Reflecting on 2010

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This is a time of year that I usually start looking and planning for the upcoming new year, but many things have happened this year that started me thinking.

Like they say (I have always wondered who they are), the years go by faster as you get older. Well it sure seemed that this year soared by. It seems like I just put my Christmas decorations away when I had to go in the attic and pull them back out.

The first thing that comes to mind is the 81 firefighters (at the time of this article) that have died protecting their communities this year. I guess one positive thing about this statement is that this number is down from last year. It is also important to remember our service men and women who put their life on the line everyday to protect us and our freedom. To them I want to say thank you. I also want to thank the families for letting the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters go do what they have to do. This is a huge sacrifice that they deal with while their loved ones are away.

There has been so much that has happened in the world this past year. There is no way that I could everything remember that happened. I need one of those end-of-the-year television shows to remind me of all of the highlights. I can remember personally and professionally some of the things that have happened to me.

As a firefighter for St. John Parish, which I am very proud and honored to be, we established the first firefighter association for St. John Parish career firefighters.

Our mission statement: To serve the citizens of St. John the Baptist Parish and to handle all emergencies, either man made or natural, in a professional, respective manner. We also strive to provide a safe and effective working environment for our firefighters.

One of our main goals this year that the firefighters wanted to do is help the community. We were involved in Relay For Life, Breast Cancer Month, St. Jude Hospital, blood drives, food drives and Muscular Dystrophy. We are going to try to make each and every year bigger and better so we can help the community that we live and work in.

The people that we come across as firefighters are usually in need of some kind of assistance. There are times that we save the kitten and give the kitten back to the little girl who gives us a big hug. There are times when we hold the hand of someone that has just had his or her first car accident. There are times when we are standing there quietly saying a prayer. This past year has made an impact on many firefighters and people of our community. We all need to be thankful for what we have and tell someone thank you or make sure you give your loved ones a hug.

It is hard enough to remember what I did last week, much less what happened this past year. The economy has been rough; there have been many man-made and natural disasters; there have been deaths and births; people have been happy and sad, but all I can say is at this time of year we need to be thankful for what we have and thankful for our families and friends. Remember what we are celebrating this time of year.

Lastly, I want to tell all of my firefighter brothers and sisters thank you for what you do.

Michael Heath is president of the St. John Professional Firefighters Association.