my brother, my hero

The dictionary defines the word hero as “a man of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his brave deeds and noble qualities.”  I define the word hero as “my brother.”

My brother is a full-time and volunteer firefighter.  Last night, he lost a brother firefighter that he’s known for 20 years, Mark Falkenhan.  Mark was a retired paid firefighter and still a volunteer.   While fighting a fire last night, he became trapped inside a building and died of his injuries.  He was only 43, with a wife and two children.  My heart and prayers go out to his family, friends, and firefighting brothers.

My own brother has been a firefighter since he was 18 and old enough to become a volunteer.  It’s all he’s ever wanted.  He decided at age 4 or 5 that he would be a fireman, and that decision never wavered.  Even when it took him many years to become a paid firefighter. During that time, he volunteered and honed his skills.

My mind goes back to the time when he was just starting out.  When there was a bad fire, he would come to me and talk, just to get it out of his system.  But he never thought “I can’t do this.”

The worse part for me was when he would show me his burns or I could see him physically hurting.  I would worry for his safety, and I still do.  The worse part for him: when someone he went inside a burning building to rescue died.  That was the only time I ever saw him cry about being a firefighter.

My brother is a decorated and honored brave firefighter.  That’s not why he does it.  I’m not sure why he does it.  All I know is that a childhood dream came true for him and the world is a better, safer place because of it.  I am so proud of him.

my brother…my hero…

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5 Responses to my brother, my hero

  1. joejimgregory says:

    You paint a picture of a hero for all of us Seashell. Your brother is a remarkable man and part of a remarkable group. I’m not sure what motivates them either. But it’s an honour to know them when I do. For I too have some friends who are firefighters. And they too are heros.

    – Papa Joe

    • Seashell says:

      I think my brother got the idea in his head to be a fireman when he was just a toddler. He had a favorite book called “The Red Carpet”. It wasn’t about firemen, but is had firemen in it. For some reason, he loved that book and would ask me to read it to him over and over again, sometimes for an hour! I read it to him so much that after almost 40 years, I can still remember the first few stanzas of it (it was a book in rhyme). Made me realize, Papa Joe, that children are very influenced by their environment at a very, very early age.

      ~ seashll

      • joejimgregory says:

        An age old truth yet one that so many seem to forget – or ignore. We may not always be able to control everything in a child’s environment, but where we can, it’s our responsibility to do so. This is especially true at an early age. As they grow, they’ll have to spread their wings. But what wings they have to spread will be built based on that they grew with.

        The examples we set influence children more than we may recognize. When we’re out at the store or wherever and children are about, do we often think of what message they’re getting just from our posture, habits or other things they see in the “grown-up” we’re showing them?

        Thanks Seashell.

        – Papa Joe

  2. My prayers go out to the family of the fallen firefighter! Your brother is definitely a hero…only someone who loves people and loves being a servant to the public would do what he does!

    He is a great man as are all of the people who live to serve and protect us everyday!


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