Brotherhood as defined by Merriam-Webster; feelings of friendship, support, and understanding between people: a group or organization of people who have the same interests, jobs, etc. In the fire service, we know it means so much more. Brotherhood means that we are there for one another. It means we have each other’s backs. It means no matter how different we are, or how much we disagree, that when it comes right down to it, we will go through hell and sacrifice ourselves for each other.
Perhaps you have seen reference to the BrotHERhood committee. What is that? Who is that? What do they do? You’ve probably asked those questions. First, the “HER” is capitalized to show that this is not just a guy thing. We are equals. We are both entrenched in this fire family together. The committee is currently comprised of Rob Ortega, Eddy Trapero, Alex Trinchet, Mario Gonzalez, Gil Velasquez, Andre Cruzeta, Jacquie Neetz, Barbara Bechtel, Helen Litsky, Randy Brown, Javi Ginoris, myself (Adam Parks) and is headed by the illustrious yet humble Gabe Nemeth, however it is open to anyone who wants to attend.
What is our purpose? Simply, we are here for you. Part of what we’re here for is camaraderie, to bring us together for some social bonding. Occasionally we will be putting on CBE’s (camaraderie building events) to promote the brotHERhood and give us time to bond with the guys and girls we don’t get to see all the time plus meet our brothers and sisters we may have not met yet. These CBE’s will be a good time and I look forward to seeing you at them.
Our bigger mission is to provide a bridge to those of us in need to get the help we need. If one of us becomes ill or injured and is unable to complete some household tasks it can cause a whole new level of undue stress to that person and the family. This will include anything that that brother/sister and their family may need. From mowing the grass to taking the kids to school. From driving them to doctors appointments to building ramps and making the home wheelchair accessible. We will always be looking for people to help us by donating/volunteering to help our brothers and sisters in need. If you have a trade or skill or just want to lend a hand please contact a committee member so we can add you to our list of helpers. We may not call on you this month or the next or we may call on you next week. If you’re not able to help us this time perhaps the next. The more people we have on our list of resources the better the chances are we can get the help to the member in need sooner. Remember, you could be the one in need at any time. This goes for active as well as our retired brothers and sisters.
Another area we are here to help with is substance abuse and suicide prevention. While none of us are counselors or can directly deal with these issues, we are able to get the member to the help they need. We don’t want to hear of one of our members, active or retired, committing suicide or dying from substance use. If you are dealing with depression, PTSD, substance abuse or any other inner demon or know a brother or sister who is, please reach out to us so that we can assist in getting them the help the need and deserve. We assure you that confidentiality is of the utmost importance. This is a promise that we all make to you and one that we cannot breech.
If you are hesitant to ask for help with anything or think that it’s a sign of weakness, know that it is the farthest thing from being weak. It takes a very strong individual to admit when they cannot do something on their own. If for no other reason than to alleviate the stress it puts on your family, reach out to us. If you think that whatever issue you have is far above anything we can handle, test us. We are here for you. You can either contact us individually or at Brotherhood@local1403.org. Sound the alarm, we’ll answer the call.