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Tagged ‘Honor‘

Keep Calm and Ninja On

Editing a book is a roller coaster of love.  Some days are lofty and divine, each word floating into place with a satisfying series of keyboard clicks.  Some days there is a plunging feeling, sotto-voce screaming, and tossing bombastic words overboard like ballast.

My mantra?  Keep Calm and Ninja On.

Writing The Ninja Network is an HONOR I take to heart, because it is from my heart.  Thanks for hanging in there with me, while I get it good enough for Mighty & Awesome YOU!

Here is a bit from the most recent text:

Ninjas are the result of in-person collisions I call “nuclear proaction”:  
the sparks of life that ensue when you throw yourself wholeheartedly into the midst of community, making connection points and transitioning to new ways of being.

Proactive Proof of Nuclear Ninja Kapow!
Image capture, Ryan Haro.

Firefighters Fan the Flame of Enthusiasm

I climbed two firefighters. For charity. Fundraising. Really. Is it hot in here, or is it just…?

Truth be told, I didn’t climb them. They hoisted me. Like a giggling sack of potatoes, or an unmanageable battering ram. I guarantee I was more than unwieldy. The whole thing made me giddy. Apparently they do this regularly. I’m in good company.

St. Paul Firefighters Calendar 2013

Bob and Nate train a bunch.
It’s a big job!

I’m happy to blame the bulk of it on my buddy Peggy. Peggy is a planner, always prepared. She mentioned she needed a calendar for next year. I instantly thought of the St. Paul Firefighters Calendar, and (with the most altruistic intention, of course) volunteered nonchalantly to secure a signed copy for her at a local “Grand Opening” shindig. Oh how I suffer for Peggy.


Paging through my calendar (ya sure you betcha I bought one for myself) to see what the fellas inscribed – which, if you must know, was very nice and included the phrases “rescue me” and “smokin’ hot” – I found the list of initiatives and charities the St. Paul Firefighters Calendar supports. The real reason the men and women of fire departments – not only in St. Paul but across the country – are “smokin’ hot” has very little to do with celebrity appearances or images on calendar pages. It’s what they do for their community. Relentlessly. Every single day.

The next afternoon I pulled into my neighborhood gas station for a fill-up and witnessed what looked like the aftermath of an attack. Of what kind, I know not, but I watched several Samaritans guide a disoriented person gently from the middle of the street to the curb to settle and wait. Within sixty seconds sirens sounded and a fire engine full of ardent firefighters pulled around the corner. Moments later, an ambulance of paramedics. Proof that a helping hand is near, when we reach for it. That someone will run in, even if they don’t know us, to get us.

So well trained in what they do, that they can help you. That’s why firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics are smokin’ hot.

They train for this; the eventuality we don’t want to consider. They look for ways to help us avoid an emergency or recover from catastrophe. They are calm in calamity. In my book, they are Ninjas.

Needless to say, I’ve got firefighters on the brain. I took a poll.

Poll: I love firefighters. Do you? Why?
• They are tough. They are courageous.
• They use those powers for good.
• The willingness to put themselves in harms way for the greater safety of others.
• They going into danger knowing they may not come out.
• They have PERSPECTIVE, an excellent bunch of praise-demurring superheroes.
• Because we run inside to save someone we may not even know.

The last phrase arrested my eye. “We”.  I read it again. “We run inside”.  That’s Joe. Joe is a guy I know who has been building a career as a firefighter with dignity and quiet intensity since…well…

Joe D'Amico Firefighter

Joe never wanted to be anything but a firefighter.
Thanks to Joe’s dad, for fanning the flame of enthusiasm!

I asked him to tell me more. When Joe was a kid…

“…my dad, on a whim, told my mom and grandma that he was going to apply for the volunteer fire department. I spent time at the station with my dad and played in the trucks and did everything a little kid at a fire station would do. As I got older, my dad shared stories with me about calls he went on, how things happened, and it just got me really interested. He eventually was promoted to Lieutenant, then Captain, and is now the Assistant Chief of the Town of Brookfield Fire Department where he started 19 years ago.

After 9/11, I grew a lot closer to my dad. I began talking to him and expressing interest in becoming a firefighter. To this day he has been a major part in helping me succeed in reaching my goals. And after 9/11, I felt like I needed to do something to help people. Granted, I was in 4th grade when 9/11 happened, but that feeling of wanting to help people lead me to becoming a firefighter.

I know this is a long-winded response to simply say “I do it because I want to help people.” But I never would have been interested if it wasn’t for my dad. I’m a firefighter because I want to help people on their worst day. I’m a firefighter because I want to pay my respects to the 343 firefighters that gave their lives trying to save a stranger. And most importantly, I’m a firefighter because I love my dad, and I want to thank him for everything he has done for me, and the community he serves.”  ~ Joe D’Amico of the Lisbon, WI Fire Department

D'Amico Firefighters Like Father Like Son

Like Father, Like Son.
The D’Amicos fight for community
and bring HONOR full circle.

Community. Honor. Smokin’ hot.

Proceeds from 2013 St. Paul Firefighters Calendar go to training and education, health and wellness, community safety, professional firefighter attire, and to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
Of course I bought two. Wouldn’t you? (Here’s where to go when you do.)