Nowadays, not very many people can say that they have worked in the same job for 35 years. Not very many people can say that they stuck it out, worked their hardest, and lived a full life. I feel like in a lot of ways, longevity like that is a lost art. So many people nowadays start one job and are on the to the next the blink of an eye.
Not my dad. He finished strong. Now he's ready for whatever else life has for him.
I was able to celebrate a major milestone in my father's life on Monday: his retirement. It's pretty crazy to think how many years he has spent as a firefighter. He has been a firefighter longer than I have been alive...35 years of his life have been spent in this career, this life.
When I was little, I used to try and not think too much about what my father did for a living. Honestly, it scared the crap out of me most days. I remember a few nights waking up and praying for him because I wasn't sure what was going on but I was sure that he was probably heading into a burning building, or on his way to car accident, or something else that most people will never witness in their lives. I'm certain my dad has seen many things and been in many situations that he will never tell me about.
The respect I have for this man is unending and massive. He has sacrificed his life over and over again with every fire he has fought, with every crew he has fought those fires with. He has always stood strong, fought hard for his crew, and worked hard. I am honored to be his daughter and to have witness him throughout the years as he went to work day in and day out.
On his last shift, firefighter crews from all over Fort Collins came to pay their respect. They lowered the station flag and gave it to my dad.
I know my dad is now leaving a job well done and I know that whatever he does next, he will approach the very same.
I love you, Dad. Thank you for your service to this community and for dedicating most of your life to helping others. I am excited to see what is next for you in this thing called life.