Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Let me show you something

A New Adventure
There have been rumors that Engineer Kepler no longer drives E73 in the Kent RFA. Captain Bolender and Engineer Moffatt have said Keith has been a “no show “for the past number of weeks. When Firefighter Gegan was asked what he knows about Engineers Keplers disappearance he replied, “I can neither confirm nor deny his whereabouts.”
  Yes It is true that after almost 31 years on B shift and nine years at 73’s I have cleaned out my B shift lockers, pulled my food from the shelf in the “B” shift fridge, removed my bunkers off the “B” shift rack, boxed my books and papers from my corner B-shift office and relocated.  Some may be thinking -RETIREMENT and I say are you crazy? Retire from the best job in the world, I don’t think so.
  It was nine years ago I left Station 71 and when I did the boy’s blossomed. Engineers Galassi and Woelber became Captains, Engineer Lyons now packs heat and Captain T is now Division Chief Tomlinson.
   Again feeling I was holding back 73”s crew I decided after 31 years to stretch my wings, do something new, take on a new challenge, and leave the nest and take the accumulation of my vast years of experience and knowledge and apply them to a much larger palette of Fire and Life Safety.

  It all started a few months ago when I heard there would be a vacancy in the Kent Regional Fire Authorities vaunted, second to none, Fire Prevention Bureau (FPB).  Wanting this as bad as Ralphy wanted his Red Ryder BB gun I waited till MarLa was batting those big beautiful eyes at me and popped the question, “can I go to the FPB? Being a veteran Firefighter wife she said, “What’s the FPB?”
  I told her about Fire Marshall Bill and how I’ve always wanted to follow in his footsteps. See I said I have the burns! I told her that the vetting process would be stiff but there were a potential for four openings and my chances were good. She asked how many would be applying and I said there was at least three that I knew of.  Hesitantly she gave me the green light and so I tossed my name in the ring and waited like a child waits for Christmas morning.
  Now you may be asking yourself why MarLa harbored some hesitation. Well I’ll tell you why. Years ago in church a wonderful lady got up and with tears in her eyes and a quivering voice stated that her husband of nine years got a new assignment at Boeing and every three months or so he would have to travel for five days back east and leave her alone at home. She went on further to say in their nine years of marriage he had been there every night and she didn’t know if she could survive without him. Soon members in the congregation began to feel empathy and tears started to roll out of their eyes and one even started sobbing. Realizing the sobbing was coming from my right shoulder and MarLa was on my right shoulder I quickly turned and I whispered, “hey… we’ve been married 15 years and I’ve been gone about 1,500 days so why all the noise?” She replied,” I know, I know, I was just thinking that someday you’ll be home every night and there would be no more just me and the pets in a King size bed, no more staying up till 2 AM, no more pajama and popcorn days and the thought of having you home every night telling me what to do was just too much!”  Not sure how to respond I do what I always do in these situations of emotional confusion and agreed with her and gave her a hug.
Well back to the important stuff.

  As some of you may know Sargent O’Rourke had his Corporal Agorn, Sheriff Andy Taylor had his Officer Barney Fife, and Marshall Matt Dillion had Festus Haggen. Well Division Chief Napier, Chief Bentenson, and Captain Nee will have Assistant Fire Marshal Keith D. Kepler.  Yep with clip board and code book in hand I’ll be traveling the streets of the Kent RFA making sure businesses are fire and life safety compliant. I’ll be walking miles a day keeping a keen eye open making sure extension cords are not being used as permanent wiring,  hood and duct systems are clean and the other 1000’s of codes that will become my new close friends. Also I’ll get my own pickup, orange vest and office with a view.
  Now some of you are saying, “But Keith you’ll never be on an engine again how sad.” Not to worry, I’ll be keeping my skills finely honed and occasionally I’ll be called back to fill a seat and impart my Fire and EMS skills to some new rookie or rub shoulders with the RFA’s finest.

   Meanwhile back at 73’s I occasionally pull into the parking lot and peer through the windows only to find that Walt Henry from 71’s has quicker than you can say “CrossFit” moved into my bedroom and B shift locker, Engineer Paul has jumped into the B shift Driver’s seat and now controls the helm not to mention he also moved into and took over my B shift corner office. I’ve observed Carlo who seems to be smiling more readily and I hear kissing more babies. Meanwhile Greg seems more laid back and relaxed and cooking more dinners for the boys!
  Ah…but that is the circle of life in the firefighter world as we try to make the best out of a sad situation. Sometimes though it’s too hard on a few and there are those like John Robbins who took my leaving B-shirt so hard he turned in his retirement papers. I’m going to miss you #124.

So wish me well on my new adventure and know that I now play a larger role in protecting the citizens of the Kent RFA.
Assistant Fire Marshall Keith D. Kepler #125