I have faith in the message that I am sharing with you about your future in the fire service. Let me share the thoughts of a man from my distant past. He was one of my instructors at the U.S. Air Force Firefighting School at Chanute Air Force Base back in 1966. At our graduation ceremonies which were held on the day before Thanksgiving back in 1966, Technical Sergeant Sherrill shared an important message with all of us.
At that time he told us that there would be good days in our lives, as well as bad days. That was just going to be how life worked. He closed his message to us by stating that he hoped that it was his belief that there would never be a day when we were sorry to have become a member of the fire service.
I am here to tell you 44 years later that he we right. It has been my privilege to have lived a great life within the fire service. In spite of the gloom and doom merchants who populate our 21st Century world, I am here to say that you and I still have a chance to make a great difference in our communities and in our nation. This is part of my faith in the future of our chosen field.
Let me close my message with you today by using a quotation from Miracle on 34th Street when Maureen O'Hara tells her little daughter (the late Natalie Woods) that, "… faith is believing in something when common sense tells you not to." I urge you again to share the gifts of your time, talents, and treasures. Please accept my best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.