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Grandma and Grandpa’s generation see the simple solutions in our compli- cated lives; if it’s broke, fi x it. If it’s the right thing to do, do it. Get in, do the job right, and get out. I wonder where we’d be as a department if we looked at things through my grandpa’s eyes.


So how’d he


do it? How do you earn so little, retire on so little, and yet save so much? How has Grandpa enjoyed such a long Mar- riage, Retirement, and Life?


Here are some lessons I have gleaned from my Grandpa’s life:


marry a Great Gal and Be FaithFul I say “Gal” because I’m speaking for


my Grandpa and he retired long before females ever entered the LAFD. If you’re offended, you can substitute “spouse” for “Gal.” Grandpa won’t mind. He found a great one in Zella. Grandma supported him and raised his children while he served his City. She understood that she had chosen to marry a civil servant and she never ex- pected to lead a glamorous life. She understood that being married to a fi reman takes sacrifi ce. Grandma understood the long hours her husband had to work and she knew that there would be holidays that he would miss. Grandpa made sure that she knew that going in. Grandma always cooked for Grandpa on his days off. Restaurants were too expensive and besides, they enjoyed spending time at home with each other. Grand- ma never called Grandpa away from the station when the kids had the sniffl es; she knew that his job was too dangerous, too important, and that his crew depended on him being there. Grandma was strong and independent when Grandpa was away, supportive and loving when he was home. I’m sure that, as all couples do, over the years my grandparents had their share of disagreements. But Grandma and Grandpa understood that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence, it is greener where it is watered. Grandma and Grandpa worked hard to ensure that their mar- riage lasted. They remained faithful to each other and to their wedding vows; forsaking all others. My Grandma passed away just shy of their 75th Anniversary.


live within your means “If you break a shoelace, tie a knot in


it. Don’t buy a new pair of shoes!” Grandma and Grandpa were raised at a time where you didn’t buy anything unless you paid for it in cash. This was not only an ethical view, it was reality. There simply weren’t any credit cards. If given the chance, Grandpa would tell each and every fi refi ghter on the job to only use a credit card if you can pay it off at the end of the month. If you couldn’t pay in full, then you saved and dreamed. Ask any married couple and they will tell you that


April 2012 • 7 some of their best memories are when


they sacrifi ced and saved for something big. Imagine my grandma and grandpa lying in bed dreaming of their retirement and talking about how wonderful it will be when they build their little home in Fallbrook. Often times, by the time they had saved enough for a major purchase, the novelty of the item had worn off and they were able to apply the savings to something else. Not wasting money on impulse purchases and saving his money allowed Grandpa to retire with only 27 years on the job. That was actually longer than most back then. In his day, fi remen retired between 20 and 25 years. Today we go 30, 35, sometimes 40 years. Is it because the cost of liv- ing is so much higher, or is it our expectations that have gone through the roof?


keep it simple Grandma and Grandpa didn’t take


elaborate vacations. They loved fi shing and would return year after year to their favorite fi sh- ing hole at Convict Lake. Grandma and Grand- pa’s freezer was always stocked with trout. “Keeping it simple” applies to the Fire


Service as well. I remember when I fi rst made captain, I was bragging to my grandpa how com- plicated fi ghting fi re had become. All of the rules that we were bound by: two-in and two-out, rapid intervention companies, medical stand-by teams, etc. I was very impressed with myself for being able to work in such a complicated environment. Grandpa listened intently and then asked a very poignant question, “Why don’t you just put out the fi re?”


leadership and duty


We throw around a lot of words these days like “Leadership” and “Duty.” I sometimes wonder what


if we truly know those words mean. For Grandpa, leadership and duty meant mastering


your job responsibilities and knowing who you are on the department and in your personal life. He knew that the department’s needs were big- ger than his personal needs and that the needs of his family outweighed his personal interests. Grandpa faithfully served his department by humbly reporting to work each shift and fulfi ll- ing his duties to the best of his ability. When he went home the next day, Grandpa always made sure the station and his apparatus were in bet- ter condition than when he reported for duty the day before. He reveled in the simplicity of fi re- fi ghting. Know and master your position on the department and you will make the department better.


Grandma and Grandpa were faithful to


each other and to those who were a part of their life. Grandpa was a dedicated servant to his fam- ily, to his wife, and to his department. Grandma and Grandpa saved, sacrifi ced, and served their fellow man and in return they found themselves surrounded by family and friends. Thank you for these lessons Grandpa.


Thank you for your service to our department and the lessons you have taught us. I have paid attention and I am doing my very best to live my life in a way that will make you proud. I am so sorry for your loss. I think of Grandma every day.


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