Actor Andy Griffith passed away this last week. To most of the people around my age (54) Andy Griffith was more commonly known as Sheriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry. The reason I am even talking about Andy Taylor here on Firehouse.com is because he was a great role model for a generation of people in America who grew up and went on to become firefighters, company officers and chiefs. To the younger generation of firefighters who do not know who he is or was, let me explain. Andy was a Dad, a nephew, a boyfriend, a neighbor and, of course he was the sheriff of the small town of Mayberry.
When you watched an episode of the Andy Griffith show there was always a lesson woven into the story. Sheriff Taylor was a role model and regularly demostrated the value of honesty, fair play, humility, integrity, courage and good manners. Whether he was trying to teach his son Opie the importance of telling the truth, or explaining to his deputy Barney Fife the value of treating people fairly, sheriff Taylor was always leading by example and raising the bar on how everyone should behave and perform.
I started to think about how much sheriff Taylor was like a fire department officer. Leading by example and always trying to “do what’s right”. Being honest yet firm and not only saying the right things but doing them. Taking every opportunity to use a mistake or bad choice as an lesson and always trying to find the “good” part of a bad situation. Another admirable behavior demostarted by sheriff Taylor was his natural humility. Always passing any credit or praise on to his coworkers, friends or family. No matter how involved he was in a successful project or event, he always made it sound like he was just there observing the others doing the good deed.
Farewell sheriff Andy Taylor and thanks for the memories, but more importantly, thanks for the lessons.