Reflections on The Road Less Traveled

One of the sad scenarios that I have witnessed during my lifetime is one with which you may be very familiar.


One of the sad scenarios that I have witnessed during my lifetime is one with which you may be very familiar. It is known as the taking of the easy way out. If there are two ways to do a thing, some folks take great joy in taking the easy way out.

Now I want you to know that taking the easy way out is not always a bad thing. If you can dig a hole with a shovel, or rent a backhoe to dig the same hole, you would be foolish to dig the hole with the shovel. The same holds true in my life for washing my truck, or painting my home. For a few bucks, my buddy at the car wash will insure that my vehicle is clean. Perhaps if I have time on a nice spring or fall day, I will take a few moments and do the job myself. However, after a winter storm, or on a hot summer's day, visiting the carwash is the smart thing to do.

Rest assured it really quite probably that you would not catch me pausing to paint anything at anytime. I lack those kinds of skills, so you will agree that paying someone to do the job is not only the easy way out, but also the wise choice of action.

This week we are going to feature a few fine folks who have fought the urge to take the easy way out. Over the past year or so I have said quite a bit about the negatives that I have encountered. This week I am going to do something different. I am going to shine the bright light of the public arena on a number of good things that I have seen, that I know, or of which I have been informed by friends. I want to magnify the greatness of the individuals that have taken a road less traveled. By shining the light of public acclaim on these people, I hope to cultivate their example in your life.

They may not look at themselves as shining examples of doing the right thing, but that is even more of a reason to sing their praises. No my friends, it is not this sort of hard versus easy decision to which I make reference. I am referring to those situations where a person in a position of leadership has to make a tough call, one that runs against popular opinion.

I recently saw just such a good decision in my fire company. We were called to the scene of a working fire at the far end of our district. As we rolled into the incident, we could all see a decent-sized loom-up off in the distance. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a good volume of fire blazing out of a decent-sized one-story dwelling. A number of our younger members appeared to be ready to take a shot at an interior attack.

Chris Pujat, our chief here in Adelphia, NJ then made a very sound, but potentially unpopular decision; he gave his size up and announced that we had a fire in an abandoned one-story, wood-frame structure. He then announced that we would be setting up for a defensive attack.

I could almost hear the young folks muttering, "ah shucks" amongst themselves. However, it was absolutely the right thing to do. No one should ever be injured in a useless battle to save a building that will probably be torn down anyway. Not too long after my crew had established a hose line at the seam of the A and B sides the front porch collapsed. It is the little things like this that make a good call suddenly seem great.

What we did do was a bit of training as to just how much fire a 1-3/4" hose could extinguish. I rotated the younger members of our crew through the various positions on the hose line. Everyone took a turn. No one ever went close to the building. My chief encouraged my efforts to work with the younger troops.

Three hours later, we were done. A backhoe from our local public works department had been called in to tear the structure apart, while our crews operated a portable deck gun and a 2-1/2" hand line to wet down the rubble heap. Ladies and gentlemen, this was a safe, textbook operation. We all went home to our families.

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