By Kendra Hennis
“When a man becomes a fireman, his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work.” – Chief of Department Edward Crocker, FDNY
Following his twenty-one years of service for Tuscola, Fire Lieutenant Jim Heath was toned-out for the final time on Monday, December 2.
Heath was presented with different things to commemorate his time on the force. The first was The Firefighter’s Badge. Upon presentation, Assistant Chief Chip Haake said, “Every time we pin on a badge, whether it was when we were sworn in as the newest firefighter, or as a veteran firefighter, officer or chief reporting for duty, remember the trust it represents and the higher code of conduct it demands to uphold.”
The second, an axe, presented by Lieutenants Hemmer and Carter. They told the history of the axe and explained, “The firefighter’s axe is not just a piece of metal. It is a symbol that carries several hundred years of tradition. Every time Jim used an axe, whether it was when he broke in a door, or pulled down a ceiling looking for hidden fire, this tool as being used to help people in their time of greatest need. We run toward the trouble, not away from it.”
Next was the Helmet, presented by Captain Maxey and Chief Engineer Jason Mills. Captain Maxey said, “ It is a yellow helmet, and the shield on this helmet declares the man wearing it to be experienced. This man, due to his experience, is to be respected, honored, and commands a younger man’s, or subordinate’s loyalty and attention.”
Lieutenant Ray and Captain Endres then presented him with the U.S. Flag that has been flown at the south fire station. They told the history of the flag, and explained that even the folds of the flag are significant.
Chief Brian Moody ended the ceremony by saying, “Our community is blessed. This is in part because you and those before you have given of themselves to the greater good. You have answered all types of calls- left your life and your family on hold- at night and on the weekends and in weather good and bad. You have been a key element in the saving of lives, in protecting property and in teaching our community how to prevent fires.”
“This man has shown enthusiasm for the fire service, for fire prevention and for community service including our efforts to support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I personally cannot thank you enough for all the years you have committed to our department and this community. Thank you.”