There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. ~Anaïs Nin

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Laying a New Foundation - Part Two

Five years ago, at the age of 42, I was traveling down the highway, when suddenly right in front of me coming in the other direction was a jeep that was literally bouncing down the road on its side.  Flipping at least five times before it came to a rest.  Without a second’s hesitation I pulled my car over and ran across three lanes of highway to get to the person inside.

The young 16 year old girl was incredibly lucky. I was able to help her out of the car through the side window, and although she left by ambulance to get checked out, I learned later from her parents that she had not a scratch on her, and even played in her softball game the following day.

But driving away from that accident I couldn’t help but play worst case scenarios through my mind.  What if she was trapped? What if she was hurt?  What if the car  started on fire.  I had no training for any of those situations. I would have stood helplessly by had I been met with any of that.

That’s when I decided to become a firefighter.  

The first night, I remember sitting in the parking lot, with white knuckles, gripping the steering wheel trying to convince myself to just drive away.  Instead, I got out of the car and walked into the building.  I was never so scared or nervous in my life. 

But things moved quickly from there. I got to know the guys relatively easily and my training started shortly thereafter.  I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn.  How to use the airpacks, how to search for and rescue a victim, raise ladders, pull hose, work the fire hydrants, operate the vehicle extrication tools. 

I remember at first thinking everything is so heavy!

But I persisted, I worked hard to keep up with the guys, studied for hours upon hours, and about 18 months later I became a Level 2 Certified Firefighter in my state.  The first woman ever in this particular department to reach that level of training.  I even had the opportunity to drive the trucks a few times.

This is the accomplishment I am bragging about today, because as part of my new foundation its time to give at least as much, if not more, attention to my strengths than my shortcomings. Oh and did I mention I got the highest grades in my class?


  1. Sometimes we have to give ourselves a pat on the back if for any other reason to remind ourselves that yes we are special in our own way. Good going on this!

  2. How awesome is this! I think it is great that you went after and worked so hard on something you wanted to do. You rock my friend!

  3. Now this is a really inspiring read! Way to go Deborah! I am just amazed at your spirit and courage! Keep these great stories coming...but I won't be online for a couple days so I'll comment then.:)

    Have a lovely day!

  4. I'm very proud of you, Deb! You are indeed an inspiration.

  5. ".. attention to my strengths than my shortcomings" I think that's the key to success and happiness.

    Whenever I read your blog posts I do not feel that I am reading about someone else. Because you draw conclusions like the one above that makes me think about my choices too.

    Thank you.
    Kamer from Mothers' Notes

  6. Somewhere along the way I learned to downplay my achievements, to not draw attention to myself that way. And to focus on improving my weaknesses. It actually feels good though to share my accomplishments, and to read your kind and thoughtful comments. I highly recommend that all of you take the time to celebrate 5 things you are proud of! Whether on your own blogs, or your own journals. It's good for the soul.
    And Kamer, thanks for that comment. The more I write my blog and read my comments and read others blogs, the more I feel a solidarity with people. That everyone shares the same feelings, struggles, doubts, fears. It humbles me when my words touch people. I draw strength from knowing we are all in this together and we need to be there for each other, not to judge and criticize but to support, share and connect :)

  7. A Mazing!

    Love your comment above too.