After the attacks on 9/11 the chief of the Bennington Fire Department asked if I would become the Department chaplain. I agreed to assume the role of chaplain with the caveat that I could also train to become an actual fire fighter. That was okay by them and thus began my career as a firefighter.
Over the years my level of involvement and responsibilities as a firefighter grew. A few years ago I advanced to the rank of second lieutenant, then first lieutenant and now I am the captain of the Eagle Hose Company of the Bennington Village Fire Department.
As an officer and firefighter I drive the apparatus pictured above, I fight fires, rescue cats, reset smoke detectors, respond to car accidents, wash the truck and do all sorts of grimy work. As chaplain I do what one would expect a chaplain to do. I visit sick firefighters, provide support as appropriate at funerals and in general look after the emotional and spiritual well being of the men and women in the department. When there are civilian fatalities at fire scenes I get pulled from firefighting to attend to the family members of the deceased. Fortunately, to date, our department has not experienced a LODD, line of duty death.
I never dreamed of becoming a firefighter but I can say without reservation I love being a part of the fire service. I love the camaraderie, excitement, smells, even the middle of the night disruptions, and most of all I love knowing I am contributing something of real value to my community.
Qualifications: Level 1 & 2 Firefighter; Operations Level Hazmat; Apparatus Driver; Interior qualified; Wilderness FirstResponder; CPR certified.