The End of an Era

As many of you know, my dad retired after more than 30 years of service (without using a single sick day!) as a firefighter last month. On Friday night, my family hosted a retirement party for him and I gave the following speech:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that my sister and I practically grew up at Station 4. We’ve been visiting since we were babies–before school, after school, before school dances and after school dances (to show our dad our pretty dresses when he had to work) and more often than I can remember.

We stopped by just to say hi, to make dinner with our mom (well…my mom and my sister did most, okay all, of the cooking. But I was there for moral support and to act as the official taste tester, but I digress…). And, of course, we stopped by to watch the Fourth of July parade and fireworks. Station 4 definitely has the best seats in Catonsville!

Since the beginning of our lives, Station 4 has been our second home and our dad’s coworkers and colleagues–all of you present tonight–have become our second family. Throughout the years, we’ve noticed there’s a sense of brotherhood (and sisterhood) that comes along with being a firefighter. Not only do these men and women have your back, literally, they are there for you in good times and bad times and that was especially evident last year.

There’s no doubt that our father is an extraordinary firefighter. He’s been referred to as the “Iron Man” of the fire department, much like Cal Ripken is the Iron Man of baseball. Both have had a long and successful streak in their respective careers and both had more hair when they started than they do now. But, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

While many of you know my dad as a coworker, a colleague and a fire specialist, we simply know him as “Daddy,” our hero. He has always been there for us, no matter what: every school performance; every honors assembly; every cheerleading competition; every dance recital; and, of course, every graduation, often with multiple cameras and video cameras to capture every single moment.

To this day, he continues to be my number-one fan. And I know a lot of you have had to read at least one of my many articles because of him. My sister and I are so grateful for his love, encouragement and support in all that we do.

Because of our dad, we know the difference between a fire man and a firefighter (a fire man starts fires, a firefighter puts it out); a fire engine and a fire truck (this one took me a while to remember); but, most importantly, we know what it means to be a good person.

Thank you, Daddy, for everything you’ve done and continue to do, not only for us, but also for your coworkers and all of the citizens of Baltimore County. You are the best father and firefighter I know!

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