(Paul Mobley photo)
Immigrant. Veteran. Second generation. Third generation. Native American. Irish. Cuban. Volunteer. Union President. Outdoor adventurer. Hunter. Actor. Singer. Computer technician. Medical officer. Son. Nurse. Daughter. Husband. Wife. Combat veteran. Eagle Scout. Cancer survivor.
One world fully encompasses all of the individuals represented in the book “American Firefighter. Portraits by Paul Mobley” and in so doing the character of firefighters across the country. The book, which serves to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation is a portrait of 53 individuals across American in both word and photograph.
Vignettes show a variety of our nation’s firefighters with tales from the individuals of their background, hiring, joining, and position. Among the colorful biographies are tales of difficulty, chance, struggle, heritage and remembrance. Each one in its own way pays a respectful tribute to duty, service and at times sacrifice.
Many books written about the fire service range from the tales of individuals to a broad look at the service in whole. This pictorial account, in my opinion, is one of the best, if not the best, in paying tribute to the entire fire service.
Many of the personal histories recorded bear a significant importance in showing who the American firefighter is, however one stands out at the end that summarizes all of us. Warren Jones is a volunteer firefighter in Delaware who like others has a large part of his life invested in his local fire department. His tale, like others, included camaraderie, loss, heroism and recognition.
Talking about is first time removing the body of a burn victim, Jones leaves us with sentiment and what can be described as a constant reign toward duty. “I hope that my life of service will leave a lasting impression, and I will be remembered as a firefighter who sought to give more than he received and tried to instill in people that there is no greater gift in this world than what we do.”
The accounts presented in “American Firefighter” serve as more than a benefit for the NFFF but as gentle tug that keeps us in the path of service towards others in a cause greater than ourselves.