I just recently retired from a career I love, to pursue a career that I love.
It all began with drawing and design. Architecture fascinated me when I was young and that started my path. I studied and practiced with angles, T-squares, compasses and all the drafting tools I could get my hands on. The practical sense of it all was terrific. I was hooked.
That is until I found the freedom that fine arts brought. No rules, no codes, no limits of the physical world. I drew, sketched, painted and sculpted until the wee hours of the morning. I could not get enough.
Then came the fire department. The big red trucks never really moved me, nor did the sirens or the glory, but when I crawled into my first burning building, breathing the fresh cool air I carried on my back, the fire crackling all around and I felt that razors edge feeling of only that moment existing, it became my world.
At the age of twenty two I swore my life to the Providence Fire Department and pursued my career as a firefighter with all the gusto and dedication I could muster. It was as an important part of my life as anything that can take it all away from you in a moment should be. The balance of creativity and practicality was amazing. I worked in the busiest fire companies I could and gave as much as I could. The days that I gave more than I could I paid for with injuries and night sweats. When the time came to make rank and become an officer, I studied the pile of books the other hundreds of other firefighters studied to make the cut. Being a company officer was a new and challenging aspect of an already challenging job and I loved it all. I became family with some of the best people I could ask for and accomplished things that I could never have hoped.
After twenty four years of service, I decided that while I was still healthy enough to provide for my family, I would go back to my old love.