I want to tell you about a remarkable young man in my fire department. His name is Bobby Fulp. He is one of the Juniors in my department. He is motivated and highly dedicated to learning the job. He frequently calls me to meet at the station for extra training. When you need something he is there. He hustles anytime you give him a task. Everything that Bobby can do he does it and does it to the best of his abilities. I know you are thinking that this is just another kid ate up with firefighting, right? You couldn’t possibly be more wrong. Bobby is limited in what he can do due to his age, but also because of his health. Bobby was born single ventricle. He has had six, count them, SIX heart surgeries in his lifetime. Four of those were before his fifth birthday. He had a pacemaker put in his chest at the ripe old age of 10.
We were talking at the station one day and he said something that absolutely broke my heart into pieces. He said, “When I was a little kid, I used to see the fire trucks rolling by and I knew that I wanted to be a firefighter. I have always wanted to be a firefighter, but because of my health problems, now I will never be a “real” firefighter.” Here I am, one of the interior guys he looks up to so much fighting back crying like a little girl. I did my best to choke back the tears as I assured him that it doesn’t matter if you are on the truck, or inside the house, every person is equally important and that he IS a “real” firefighter.
I am sad to say that I received news yesterday that little Bobby’s pacemaker has quit working and he is slated for his seventh surgery before his eighteenth birthday. I have told you all of this because I am personally reaching out to my (and his) brothers in the fire service. I am not asking you for donations, I am asking for you to simply send him a get well card. This is one of those chances we get to show the next generation what the brotherhood is all about. Call this a personal plea, shameless begging, whatever you want to call it. This kid is a personal hero of mine and inspiration to me. It has been one of the greatest honors of my fire service career to work with this young man. I am asking the brotherhood to help me show him exactly what it means to be a part of it. I know that if we are half the firefighter that Bobby is, most of his hospital stay will be occupied with opening cards.