My husband, Kerry, and I recently had the privilege of participating in the Marshalltown Fire Department's Citizens Academy. It was very informative, challenging and fun!
I didn't know what I was getting myself into but had my first "taste" of it when we were fitted for our gear. For someone like me who gets claustrophobic, the challenges began when I had to learn how to put on a face mask. It had to be tight enough so you couldn't taste the sweetness in the air in the bag they put over your head. It was the first of many reminders that being a firefighter requires a unique individual.
Acting Chief Scott Johnson got his first hint of the challenge of working with me when he tried to find firefighters' boots in a size six. He was very accommodating, patient and supportive, as were all of the firefighters, even when they had to repeatedly clean up after the eight of us. That included properly putting away equipment and hundreds of feet of hoses.
I'm still not quite sure how it happened but I found myself pinned against a wall one night when I was holding the hose and the water shot out but it was worth it when I saw everybody below me running to avoid the spray. I think I have an idea of how Lieutenant Hillygus felt when he had a little too much fun spraying all of us on the last day!
Seriously, the whole department went out of their way to give us as realistic of a picture as possible of what it takes to be a firefighter. It is extremely physically and mentally demanding and can also become emotionally demanding in "real" situations. I am so thankful that God created some individuals with the necessary qualities and desire to be firefighters.
The first responsibility of government is to protect its citizens. Those who work to do just that deserve our support. Both Kerry and I want to say a big thank you to the Marshalltown Fire Department and I also need to offer a very belated thank you to the Marshalltown Police Department for its Citizens Academy. These opportunities to experience a little bit of what their jobs entail are invaluable and very much appreciated.