(first received August 30. More added September, October, 2002)
New York was both great, and sad. I lost family members that were
firefighters on Sept 11th. The whole dynamics of that city has changed
since those cowardly attacks. But out of all tragedy arises a renewed
spirit. New York is famous for its rude people. But it seems that now people
are a bit kinder to each other. I had my oral board with the "Bravest" as
the FDNY refers to itself. I did well.
I know too often in life people expect us to be there or get mad when they
have to pull over to let us through on our way to save a life or someone's property.
I honestly feel that things happen for a reason in life Ellis. I was meant to overcome the obstacles set before me and return to the job that I love. I
honestly believe that I was meant to get into contact with you so that you
can assist me in becoming stronger and more efficient at what I love. I really do appreciate all your effort.
I have much experience in this field and my heart knows no other profession. When I broke my back they said that I would never be able to walk again let alone go back to the job that I love. I proved them wrong, time and time again. Every obstacle they put in front of me I overcame.
They say in life 1 out of every 100,000 people is doing what they were truly
meant to do. Ellis, I believe that. Too often in life people settle for
mediocracy. But then there are those elite few that are not motivated by money
and do what their heart truly wants to do.
I have always been a pretty smart guy. My Mom wanted me to be a Doctor. My Dad wanted me to be an Attorney. I have never wanted to be anything but a Fireman. Firemen don't get paid exceptionally well. They definitely don't get paid what they are worth. But for the elite few that become Firemen, they don't do it for the money, they don't do it for the fame...
They do it because they have a burning desire to do right by their kind. My wife disagrees. But she knows that whatever it takes to make sure I come home after a shift is what needs to be done.
I have never been a selfish person. If I had a dollar and a friend had none I would give my last dollar. That principle has carried on with me my whole
life. So as to now I am willing to lay my life down to save that of a
complete stranger. I honestly feel good about that. So whether I'm a
firefighter here or in New York or anywhere I am doing what I was meant to
do and I can wake up smiling every morning.
As I read through your pages it seems that you, also, are more motivated to
help people than to make money. I respect that, Ellis. Granted we all need money to survive. But when you offer an invaluable service to better the lives of others, that makes you just as much if not more of a humanitarian than I am.
I am a fairly religious man, I believe that all things happen for the good of something greater. You are helping me become more efficient at my job so that I don't fatigue when Im carrying a 250 lbs man down 4 flights of stairs and turning right back around to get his family.
Some may say that using assistance to get stronger is unethical. I disagree.
I am willing to do whatever it takes so that when someones life is on the line I have the strength and endurance to push through the physical pain time and time again to make sure that person lives to see another day.
I went on a call the other day. It was a fully engulfed structure fire with a family of four trapped inside. I had searched high and low and after about five minutes of such intense heat that it was burning me through my turnout gear I heard a faint cry. My alarm on my SCBA tank started to ring signaling that I was running out of air. I was able to crawl into the bathroom where two kids were laying in the bathtub with the shower on cold running down onto them. I have never seen such intelligence from 8 and 6 year old children. They were able to lay down and breathe as they had cold water running onto them.
In the meantime while I was in the house the parents were able to escape through their bedroom window two stories down onto the concrete but thought they had lost their children. The fire had closed in behind me. I was running out of air and I needed to get these children out of the house.
I broke out the 2nd story bathroom window which was no bigger than 18X12 inches and was able to drop the kids out of the window to waiting firemen. I could not fit through the window so I had to go back through the fire across the hall and out another 2nd story window at the end of the hall because the fire had already rolled up the stairs and over the top of me. I had about a minute of air left in my SCBA and realized that if I busted out this window the fire would get an influx of fresh oxygen and cause a backdraft. That is where the fire takes a big huge gulp of air and grows. Basically, it explodes.
So my only other option was to go back through the fire into the parent's room where the window was already open and go out the same way they did. I was running out of air at this point and my lungs were starting to burn. It was pitch black and I had to do all this on my belly. Keep in mind also that I have another firefighter on my tail end in the same predicament.
We ended up finding the parent's room at the opposite end of the hall through intense heat and got out of the house through there 2nd story window. By the time that I got outside and all my gear off I had been out of air for over two minutes.
But for some reason I was able to get out of the house with nothing more than some slight burns and no air. I had to get oxygen once outside and had to go to the hospital where I spent the remainder of my shift. But overall I turned out OK.
I can honestly tell you through that whole ordeal I was never scared. I never felt alone. I always knew that no matter what I would be ok.
I'm telling you this, Ellis: because of the services you provide I was able to go that little bit extra. If I wasn't in such good shape I would not have made it out of that house. I would not have been able to exert myself to that extent. I honestly meant what I said when I said because of the services you provide I am able to have the endurance needed to go that extra bit when someone's life depends on me so that I don't fatigue at that critical moment.
The other day I went to a third grade class. All the kids in this class are about 8 years old. The kids were asking a bunch of questions and this one kid was sitting quietly in the back of the room. most of the questions were pretty common of 8 year olds. Questions like: What's its like in the fire truck?, What do you eat? Do you save cats out of trees? What's it like being a fireman? Are you a hero?
Then the one kid that was sitting quiet in the back of the room asked: Do you get scared?
I thought about this and then I answered him: Yes, I do get scared.
Then he said: My Dad said real men don't get scared!
Again, I thought about that for a minute and then I asked him what his
Dad does at work. He said his Dad works in a huge office and has a really
cool computer and lots of really cool things in his office.
I then told the kid that its OK to be scared when scary things happen. Another kid than asked what do I do when I'm scared and fighting a big fire. They asked if I ever want to run away because I'm scared.
I answered honestly. I said I get very scared every time I go to fight a fire. Sometimes I get so scared I want to cry. But I know that if I cry or run away then bad things can happen to good people and that would make me very sad.
I then looked at the kid that told me his dad said real men don't get
scared. I said it's OK to be scared. It's what you do when you're scared that makes a difference. That is, what makes a person brave is when they are so scared that they want to run, but they stay.
I hope that kid went home and told his dad exactly what I said. The sad thing is this happens every day. Kids are being taught to
believe men are supposed to not get scared. It's easy to preach about Bravery when you work on a computer all day... It's alot different to live it.
You say we are the heroes, Ellis. Well... Then I guess that would make you a hero too, because although the man upstairs is ultimately in charge, I believe he sends us help through people like you.
Ellis, I know what you are doing to improve the quality of my life, as I am sure you have selflessly done for hundreds maybe thousands of others. I know for a fact that makes you a true hero. You are allowing people the oppurtunity to have a better life, a second chance at a life they could only have dreamed of before. You are making a reality for them with your anti-aging therapy.
I just thought you should get to know the type of person you are assisting. I admire the service you provide for people that are in need of a better and more healthy life. You can feel proud to know that the assistance that you are offering me is not only benefitting my life but the life of those that look to me at the most frightening moments of their lives and count on me to save them.
You are offering me a very valuable service. I appreciate your pages
that are very useful to me. I will be continuing our business for as long as you
are available. I really appreciate the time you take to answer my questions
and how helpful you have been.
Keep it up Ellis and take heart in the fact that you are a true hero in the eyes of many. You're a good man Ellis. Thank you.
A Survivor of the New York Fire Department after the attack,
September 11, 2001
"God Bless all those we lost. God
Bless all those we saved." - A New York Fireman, September, 2002