A Firefighter's Devotion

By Samantha Smith

Author Samantha Smith, an elementary education student from Fairbanks, AK, and her fiancée, Jake Lamphier, a firefighter/paramedic with Central Emergency Services in Soldotna, AK.
My name is Samantha Smith. I am a 23-year-old college student at the University of Alaska—Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska. My fiancée is a career firefighter/paramedic in Soldotna, Alaska. He started his firefighting journey here in Fairbanks at the University Fire Department. When he said he wanted to become a firefighter, I was very nervous of the lifestyle and dangers he would encounter. I needed to find an outlet to release my stress. I turned to poetry.

The poem below is filled with truth and emotion. Being part of a firefighter's life in any way is life-changing. It is a firefighter's job to deal with reality every day. This daily reality check is why this poem I wrote, "A Firefighter's Devotion," is the way it is--filled with truth. My fiancée is an avid reader of Fire Engineering. I wanted him to see my poem, which has touched him and continues to move him, debut on Fire Life—our two worlds becoming one.

Thank you all for taking the time to read my work. The process and outcome of this poem has assisted me in the truth, dedication, and honor it is and means to be a supportive person in the love of my life's passion and career. I am glad the poem is being presented here so other people who have firefighters in their lives can understand or be reminded that every shift, call, and volunteer work every firefighter around the world does is 100 percent worth their and our time every day.

Thank you!

A Firefighter’s Devotion

i.
with fifty extra pounds he runs
sweating
through a smoky inferno
to find the source of the screams
his heart racing
his clear mind set on the goal
higher and higher he climbs
searching floors for the one who desperately needs a hero

ii.
thrown from the blaze
he lands on the hard grass
his body lays motionless
below three floors of window frames
everything bruised; mostly broken
the blast rendered her hero unconscious
with smoke blinding the rescue team
no hope is seen

iii.
crisply uniformed they align
one after the other shoulder to shoulder
he is carried through the streets
that he once protected
the wife and unborn he left behind
follow with tear filled faces
being cradled by supportive
Captains; Chiefs
his fellow firefighters
choking back salty rain
promising to always remember 
what cost was paid in full that day

iv.
“ma’am I know
that any words I give will not compare
but I must say thank you
for the love you gave to him
for the support you gave to him
that let him be brave for me
I understand he was your world
and with him gone nothing feels the same
but I must say thank you
your husband’s passion and dedication
your families’ sacrifice
gave me life”

v.
a long, cold, silent walk
exposes a brave mans eternal resting place
two stand filled with emotions
longing to express the sorrow
the young boy lays two sunflowers
at his father’s head stone; laced
with pride for the fallen hero; a man
he will never know

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