Yes, the holiday season is now upon us, with lots of gifting and shopping and egg nog and stuff like that. We have Black Friday waffle iron riots, we have camping on sidewalks to get the best deals at Best Buy, and we have court fights over the presence of various religious displays. It is what I call the "Lost Season", when everyone has scheduled holiday and vacation leave and nobody ever seems to be in their office, in anyplace, anywhere.
In a true interpretation of the season, however, and in keeping with the observation that most of the world's religions have more in common than they have that separate them, we have to remember the real meaning of the season and that reason is to promote peace on earth and goodwill to mankind. That we should be celebrating our family and our friends and we should be reminding those individuals how much they mean to us.
This season, however, we should be reaching out to those less fortunate than we are in a spirit of brotherhood, especially when we call the fire service a brotherhood, and especially when times are hard everywhere. There are many ways to do this and each of you should find your own way to express this shared bond. I am positive there are departments we all know of that can use a helping hand right now. Not every community is as blessed as some of us, not just with equipment or apparatus, but in the wealth of knowledge some of you can bring to teach others about how to do the job a little more efficiently and a little safer.
I have been informally discussing ways to help our brother and sister firefighters in places like Nepal, where disaster could strike at any moment and the infrastructure is so poor that it would only magnify the devastation. A brother firefighter from Belgium has actually been over there and along with others, have been instrumental in bringing updated equipment and apparatus to these folks. Ironically, we are talking about '70's and '80's era equipment as being "updated". Some of the apparatus is older than I am. This cause is using a power of social media to promote interest, at this site called Fire AID.
There is no doubt, especially with the destruction Sandy brought a few weeks ago, that we have departments in our midst that could use help. I strongly encourage you all to find ways to do this. But on a grander scale, the things we can't use anymore here in our own country because of technology changes, regulatory compliance, or any other number of reasons, would be an amazing gift to departments in Central and South America, Asia, and Africa, among many other places.
So all of you who believe in the spirit of the fire service and that we are all truly "brothers" need to think of ways to help others. This is the perfect time to start working in that direction. It can be done through any number of means, and even the lowest rookie among us has the potential to do amazing things for others. I said it on Thanksgiving: if you have a roof over your head, electricity for powering your computer, or a warm place to read this from, you are doing better than a large number of the world's population. Express your gratitude for being given the opportunities and resources to do this job by sharing them with people who are just like you, but not quite as lucky.