The Bonds of Camaraderie
The fire engine in the photo is a 1961 GMC with the body built by Great Eastern Fire Apparatus. The rig served the Cedarville Fire Company No. 1 in Cumberland County, New Jersey for over thirty years.
The truck also serves as a landmark in my life. As a young boy, I rode in the hose bed during the Memorial Day parade when the vehicle was brand new. That event launched me on a path that spanned well into adulthood, investing thirty-seven years of my life in the fire service, and forging bonds of camaraderie that last to this day.
What is camaraderie?
According to the dictionary, camaraderie is a “spirit of trust and goodwill among people closely associated in an activity or endeavor.”1
I describe camaraderie as an unspoken bond forged in the fire of shared experiences. Events of life and work that are good, bad, humorous, sad, easy, hard, and extremely dangerous. Camaraderie is created when we participate in actions revealing the true, underlying character of people.
Camaraderie means I have an abiding love for the people alongside of me on the crew, in the station, on the shift, in the department, and in partner agencies.
The path of camaraderie
I was first exposed to the camaraderie of the fire service at an early age. My father died when I was fourteen years old and shortly after, I began hanging around the firehouse in Cedarville. At age 18, I joined the volunteer fire company.
From there I served in both the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Marine Corps forging more bonds of camaraderie. After separating from the Marine Corps, I became a member of the Loveland Fire Rescue Authority in Colorado, retiring from the agency as a battalion chief in May of 2020 after thirty years with the department.
Camaraderie withstands the test of time
True camaraderie withstands the test of time, and it does not easily vaporize. True camaraderie can also be likened to pieces of metal welded together.
How do I know that camaraderie withstands the test of time? It is the emotional, unspoken bond between myself and other firefighters I worked with when I see them. Our faces light up, the strong grip of the handshake, and the tight hug.
Camaraderie withstands the test of time when I am welcomed into one of our fire stations and offered a cup of coffee. Camaraderie is demonstrated by the conversation that ensues and it seems like we just saw each other. Camaraderie cannot be replaced by money or material goods. Camaraderie is precious and should never be taken for granted.
Please leave your thoughts below or contact me at email@example.com.
Are you cluelessly navigating the haze of career progression?
Denver leadership training and coaching are also provided by us at Impactus Leadership.