Carter: Simple Acts of Courage

We in the fire service are frequently called heroes by the public. My friends, I think that the word hero is one which is both grossly overused and frequently misunderstood by those who constantly bandy the word about. Many are the true heroes in our...

Sadly, there are many more, however, I just wanted to give you a representative sampling. In each of these tragedies the members of the fire departments affected went through the standard grieving process. Each person dealt with the pressures of the situation in their own manner. However, they all had something in common. When next it was their time to report for duty they shaped up and respectfully answered the roll call with a subdued, " sir."

I can think of a circumstance wherein a fire person that I came to know suffered the loss of a couple of associates in the line of duty. That person was so devastated by that calamity that they chose to leave the fire service. Since we are all different people, I will not be harsh or judgmental. What I will say, however, is that this action points to the true nature of the simple act of courage shown by the members of the Worcester Fire Department.

They came together and soldiered on. They continue to perform their duties in a manner which should serve as a beacon to the rest of us searching to make sense of what we have seen in the early years of the 21st Century. Let us never forget the sacrifice made by those brave men a decade ago. To do so would tarnish their sacred memory.

HARRY R. CARTER, Ph.D., CFO, MIFireE, a Contributing Editor, is a municipal fire protection consultant based in Adelphia, NJ. Dr. Carter retired from the Newark, NJ, Fire Department and is a past chief and active life member of the Adelphia Fire Company. He recently published Leadership: A View from the Trenches and Living My Dream: Dr. Harry Carter's 2006 FIRE Act Road Trip, which was also the subject of a blog To read Harry's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. You can reach Harry by e-mail at