Ever think about what makes a hero? I mean, really think about it? I realize that sounds like a topic for a first grader’s English paper, but I asked myself this question today. My first answer was “um, Brad Pitt?”. He’s handsome, he’s rich and charitable… that makes him a hero, right? Yeah, in Hollywood. I decided to look up the definition of the word “hero” and found this: a man distinguished by exceptional courage and nobility and strength. You know what that sounds like to me? A firefighter. House on fire? A firefighter is courageous enough to run into the burning building to save you. Cat stuck in a tree? A firefighter is noble enough to climb the tree and bring your kitty to safety. The entire state burning in a series of wildfires? A firefighter is strong enough to work endless hours in searing heat to protect the lives of people they have never even met.
Today I had the pleasure of attending the Roseville Fire Department’s Badge Ceremony. Fourteen men received their badges, either as new members of the fire department or as promotions. I was invited by my good friend Marsha. If you follow my blog and you ever read the comments, chances are Marsha wrote one of them. Besides my sister and my husband, Marsha is my most loyal reader. Today, her signifiant other, Matt, was promoted to Fire Captain. There were several elements of this ceremony that made it really special. First, Matt’s dad, Ozzie, pinned Matt’s new badge on his son. And second, four of the fourteen men honored today went through the Academy together. It was an amazing experience to sit amongst these men, this family, to celebrate such a incredible accomplishment.
Without further adieu, here are some images from the ceremony today:
Here are the fourteen badges that were presented today: one Division Chief, one Battalion Chief, four Fire Captains, four Fire Engineers and four Firefighter/Paramedics.
While the Fire Chief spoke as to the accomplishments of these men, I couldn’t help but notice the sleeves on his uniform. I don’t know what all of those stripes and stars signify, but it looks pretty impressive to me.
Here’s a quick glimpse of Marsha and Matt before the ceremony. The theater was really dark but I just love the spotlight effect going on.
Here they are, a little bit closer now. Aren’t they adorable? Oh my goodness, I just love these two…
After some very nice speeches by some very important people, it was time for each firefighter to receive his badge. Each man chose a person to pin the badge upon his chest. Matt chose his father, Ozzie, who is also a firefighter with the Roseville Fire Department. I wish that I had words eloquent enough to describe to you what a proud and emotional moment this was. Hopefully, these next photos will show you:
After I took these photos, I heard a little sniff coming from Marsha. Thank goodness I didn’t look at her until after I got these shots or else I would have burst into tears, which makes it a little difficult to focus the camera.
After the ceremony everyone got together for some photo ops. Here are a few of my favorites:
This last picture, while flawed with unsightly lens flare, makes me smile. Matt has an expression of happiness and pride, mixed with a little sense of relief.
Matt, congratulations on your accomplishment. Your future is so bright and I am certain there will be more promotions ahead. Here’s to many more years of courageous, noble and strong service.
Brad Pitt ain’t got nothin’ on you.