By: Mark vonAppen
This letter came to me from a firefighter in a major metroplolitan department here in the USA. If this rookie had a voice, this is what he would say.
“I look up to you. I want to learn. I am watching.”
We must remember that the new people are always watching us and will mirror what they see; both good and bad. Remember too, that we are aggregate beings comprised of everything and everyone we have ever known and experienced. Pieces of our every contact in a lifetime of contacts have molded and shaped us into who we are today. Today’s interactions change who we will be tomorrow. We are resultant of a lifetime’s worth of input from all we have observed, both positive and negative.
If you can look down the line at all of the people who came through your firehouse that went on to become successful, charismatic, and understanding leaders then you can be proud of the rich heritage you helped to create.
Most of my friends fall into one of three categories, visual artists, performing artists and firefighters. Over time, I have come realize something; all three of these careers are about self-improvement, being ready, and keeping your skills sharp. As an example, I went to a firehouse one day and witnessed the firefighters training on Vent Enter Search. It was a very unique experience to watch them crawl around on the floor calling out to each other for the duration of the training, which lasted about 45 minutes. The drill was designed to help ensure smooth operations on the fire ground.
The bottom line is this; whether you’re performing, involved in visual arts or fighting fire do not fall victim to complacency.
Complacency makes one live in their current aura. Complacency is comfortable in its little place and will not move to help others. Complacency will not take the bother to improve. Always strive to make yourself better: go from painting a small canvas to a large canvas. Take a photo, repeat a line, plan your visual size up of a situation or a structure. Be the best damn artist or firefighter that you can be. Your life and career depend on how much you train either as an artist or firefighter.
About the author:
My name is Lloyd Mitchell, I am a photojournalism student. I wish to make a social difference with my art. I feel photographs tell the stories of those without a voice. As a photojournalist, I seek truth and understanding through my camera lens.