I call him Chief.
So does everyone else.
David is Springfield’s Fire Chief. Long before he was Fire Chief, David and I rode bikes together and played catch at a mutual friend’s house and were soccer teammates at Jarrett Junior High. Chief was as tall in junior high as he is now. I was quite thankful I didn’t have to play against him.
“I remember playing on fields that are now commercial buildings and that you were really fast.”
I, too, remember those fields of years long gone and miss the days when I was perceived as a fast runner.
My cousin is a firefighter and I’ve tried on all of his gear, mask and oxygen included, exactly once. Even though I dressed up as a firefighter one Halloween, I have no desire to be one in real life.
“The best part of this job is the people I work with, getting the opportunity to serve this community. It’s home here and there’s a lot of good energy. There is also a lot of need and a constant feeling like you’re not doing enough to serve, that there is always something else that can be done.”
I love Chief’s heart for our hometown.
Of course, the weather tried to interfere with a game of catch I’ve been trying to schedule since January. A steady rain started falling as soon as I pulled out of my driveway. And then I remembered the mural.
Across the street from Mudhouse Coffee, in the drive through of Systematic Savings Bank, is an untagged mural. I’m convinced the face most easily seen to South Street drivers is that of Tom Hanks. Because of its downtown location, the drive through is completely covered, even if the fluorescent lighting plays tricks on your eyes.
As soon as he pulled up in his super-cool-Fire-Chief-mobile, I greeted him with glove in hand and nodded toward the drive through.
“I went to my very first MLB game this summer,” Chief said.
I was stunned.
“My father-in-law got four tickets, fifteen rows behind home plate. We went with my two sons and made the trip to St. Louis. Bottom of the 9th inning. Two on, 2 outs, Cardinals down by a run. A single to center and the Cards won the game. We picked up some White Castle on the way home to celebrate.”
The majority of firefighter work is responding to medical emergency calls, from birth to death and everything in between on a daily basis.
“Collaboration is extremely powerful. Amazing things happen if you’re willing to collaborate.”
I didn’t want Chief to be late to his morning meeting, so we shook hands and parted ways.
“If you need a backup these next couple of months, I’ll keep my glove in the car.”
Five minutes after he left, a fire truck zoomed through downtown, lights and sirens blaring.
Thank you, Chief, for all the work you do in this community.
Congrats to the Red Sox on advancing to the World Series. Only 4 days until the World Series watch party at CY Sports for Pitch In For Baseball!