Saturday, November 21, 2009

Would Ben Franklin have supported Josh Wolf? No!

The Josh Wolf story, an independent journalist that was jailed for failing to comply with a court order to surrender videotape of a 2005 San Francisco protest, is a story about freedom of the press. It's a story that raises the importance of balance between constitutional rights and the law.

Wolf refused to let police view his video, claiming journalistic privilege, while also protecting sources that were promised anonymity. He went to jail when he stood his ground and kept his promises.

Let reporters report and let the people decide. Life isn't simple in a democracy. Where is the balance struck between our right to know, and the government's need to withhold certain information so that it can accomplish certain things, like national security agendas?

The checks and balances that catalyze a democracy, will probably always collide with the foundational freedoms of our constitution. It's a complicated dance and the steps change all the time.

I feel that our need to know will always trump the government's need to control. History repeatedly proves that the government always finds a way to get around the constitution. Sometimes they get caught and sometimes they don't.

It doesn't matter what laws we profess to abide by, people will always talk about what they want to talk about. Information cannot be suppressed if it inflames the citizenry.

When government imposes their agenda to usurp the freedom of the press, people should be concerned. I think that we should always question government, but especially when they get heavy-handed with the freedom of information like they did with Josh Wolf.

On the other hand, the police wanted Wolf's video to find criminals that tried to torch a cop car. Wolf refused and he went to jail. Criminals should be punished and Wolf should've allowed his film to be viewed. Otherwise, he's impeding a police investigation. That's not cool! Law enforcement has a tough job and he could have helped. It gives the appearance of aiding in a crime, as if his footage in fact did show who lit the fire.

Maybe he's actually guilty and deserved to go to jail. Like I said, the dance steps change everyday. Josh danced his dance and now he's out with greater fame than his blog ever got him. I don't feel so bad for him.

Friday, November 20, 2009

California Students Protest. Ya Know? The Kids Are Alright.

Not since the days since the Vietnam War era have I seen protests on college campuses like we're witnessing in California after regents for the University of California voted Thursday to hike student fees by a whopping 32 percent.

On average, students will pay $2,600 per year more to attend any of the ten U of C campuses throughout the state. Some of those schools, like U of C Berkley, world-famous as a research institution, will certainly cost a lot more.

Students are covering their faces with bandanas, wielding protest signs and staging sit-ins on many of the campuses today. Berkley alum and long-time professors must be giddy! Oh the glory days of the Vietnam protests! Oh the vintage memories of days gone by when social responsibility mobilized grass roots messages of dissent.

Arrests are being made and there are reports that some protestors have been tazed, bro. With all the hoopla I'm sure that all roads leading west into California are clogged tonight as Deadheads (and some confused Dave Matthews hangers-on) slowly feel their way through the night to rendezvous with their hippie brethren (sistern?)to participate. Could this coming week see a gathering of social conscience akin to 40 years ago on Max Yasgur's dairy farm near Woodstock, New York?

It's heartening to see Generation Y, and other Millenials reach back and take a page from their grandparents' playbook. Civil disobedience used to be a mainstay on campuses decades ago and it surprises me that today's students aren't more active in making their opinions known. Blogs, YouTube posts and tweets just can't punctuate your outrage as much as calling your roommates from the pokey, after you've been cuffed and booked for civil disobedience.

After surfing the net and watching this story unfold, I gotta tell ya, the kids are alright.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

UVU Library Gropings and Flashings May Be Related

Two reports of women being groped in the UVU library over the last two weeks prompted campus police to issue a text alert Friday morning and police state that the gropings may be connected to two incidents of a man exposing himself to female students in the library back in August.
Friday morning police issued the alert about the gropings, which they state first occurred in mid-October, with a second incident happening earlier this week.
            All four events, each occurring in the UVU library, share similarities in the description of the perpetrator, described as a white male with light brown hair, in their early 20s and approximately six feet tall.
            “It appears they favor the library,” said UVU police detective Kelly Liddiard.  “The suspect’s description is pretty similar in all of these cases.”   Both gropings happened in the afternoon, he said.
            So far no similar incidents have been reported to UVU police and police are requesting that victims come forward with information on any similar events that may not have been previously reported.
            Liddiard also stated that the acts appeared to be random and police are uncertain regarding any motives behind each of the incidents.  He reminded everyone on campus to be on guard and to immediately call police dispatch with any concerns of suspicious activities.
            UVU police dispatch is open 24/7 to take reports and to dispatch officers.  The phone number is 863-5555.
Two separate sexual assaults on the University of Utah campus earlier this month prompted officials at that school to also issue warnings to students.
Two female students, walking near the Heritage Center on the U of U campus were grabbed and then groped by a man while simultaneously making sexually explicit comments.  Neither victim reported any injuries and the man fled the scene before he could be captured.
Police describe the attacker in that case as a white male in his mid to late 30's, 5 feet 9, 200 to 210 pounds. 
Another woman was grabbed later in the same week, this time by a man described by police as a husky, Hispanic male.  Police report that the perpetrator also made some sexually explicit comments during the attack.
Police deny that those two separate attacks were committed by the same person, and investigators don’t believe that the attacks are related.
Investigators from both schools will meet this week to compare notes on the incidents, according to UVU spokesman Chris Taylor.  In the two latest incidents in the UVU library, the perpetrator immediately fled after inappropriately touching the victims, he added.  Taylor echoed police comments that the incidents appear to be random and without obvious motive.
This story can also be read online

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The first most wonderful time of the year

I have loved this prolonged Indian Summer!  The stubborn leaves that remain on the trees are brilliant and beautiful.  I wish they could hold on throughout the holidays because they are way more festive than the usual commercial Christmas decorations.

As the sun sits lower in the sky every day, blazing sunsets illuminate gold quakies and hot orange embers fluttering on tree limbs in the fall breezes.  Taking my kids to school in the morning is a glowing drive through neighborhoods softly lit in the warm light of early morning sun shining through the leaves.  It is a beautiful time of year!

The trees in my own neighborhood take turns dumping their leaves. Neighbors can enjoy a different show each week because it seems that no two trees drop leaves at the same time.  Across the street is a gigantic old walnut tree that is always the first to drop.  My neighbor Robert, whose house has been shaded by that tree for over 30 years, recalls climbing it when he was a boy, over 60 years ago.  I wonder if that old tree drops its leaves first much like my tired, retired neighbors don their jackets and sweaters earlier in the fall than I do.

The willow tree in my front yard has again been the last to shed it's leaves.  Elongated and slender, they are just turning yellow and beginning to litter my yard and the street.  It's a good thing that my boy Tuffy loves using that new leaf blower I bought last month!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Army officer doesn't want to do his job so goes on shooting spree - kills 12

It's all over the news.  Army Major Nader Hasan stood up in a crowded room of Americans preparing to deploy to war and emptied two handguns, killing 12 and wounding 30.  He was wounded by a police officer and taken to a hospital where he was treated and stabilized.

Hasan had been telling his family since 2001 that he wanted to get out of the military, according to a spokeswoman for a cousin, Nader Hasan.  Major Hasan told his family he had been taunted after the September 11 attacks, the spokeswoman said.

"He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy," his cousin told the New York Times. "He had people telling him on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there."

Hasan was born in the United States, graduated with a degree in biochemistry from Virginia Tech and made his way up through the Army ranks, promoting to major in May 2009.

Staff Sgt. Marc Molano said that Hasan treated him for post-traumatic stress disorder earlier this year at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, CNN reported.  "Dr. Hasan provided me with nothing but the best care," Molano said. "He was a very well-mannered, polite psychiatrist, and it's just a shock to know that Dr. Hasan could have done this. It's still kind of hard to believe."  Molano described him as "far and away one of the best psychiatrists I ever dealt with."

The shooter began his day like most other days, according to a convenience store owner that told reporters Hasan frequented his store many mornings, purchasing his usual coffee and hash browns.  Surveillance footage from the store's camera the morning of the shootings shows a relaxed and smiling Hasan conversing with a clerk six hours before murdering 12 soldiers at Ft. Hood, Texas.

What's behind the murders?  What could cause, what a former neighbor described as a "cool, calm, religious" man, to do such a terrible thing?  My mind ran rampant with conspiracy theories.  Terrorism?  Drugs?  Prozac withdrawal?  What?!?!

It seems the world is going crazy.  My heart aches for the families....

Friday, October 30, 2009

This drunk is a public menace. Get him off the road!

A chronic drunkard that caused a car wreck killing a young mother is apparently off the wagon and back on the streets, menacing good people again.

Over 12 years' time, Robert Van Dyke has been arrested seven times on DUI charges and only convicted three times.  His last drunken trip down the road (well, the last time he was caught anyway) caused a collision that  killed Michelle Bradley, a 36-year-old mother of two from West Valley. One daughter also in the car survived but lost an eye.  Bradley's pregnant sister-in-law was also injured in that fatal crash.  Bobby Van Dyke spent just six years in the Utah big house for his role in killing Michelle - his sentence was 20 years.

Van Dyke's story is one of a serial drunk that somehow continues to get out on our roads, and like any numbers game, it's just a matter of time until another unfortunate victim has their number pulled while Bobby's behind the wheel.

In late September Spanish Fork police stopped Bobby and booked him on suspicion of driving while intoxicated, according to a report on   A police spokesman reported that Van Dyke smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and exhibited other signs of intoxication, but refused breathalyzer and sobriety tests.

Are you as outraged as I am about this?  How do losers that repeatedly prove that they have no regard for other people get sixth and seventh chances to go out and hurt someone again?  Prosecutors claim that it's a tough process to convict guys like Van Dyke.

Make your feelings known!  Jeff Buhman is the Utah County Attorney.  His office states they intend to vigorously pursue felony charges against Van Dyke in his latest drunk driving.  Send them your opinion and your support.  Let's get this menace out of our way and make sure he stays where he belongs and where we can be sure we'll all be safe from him - behind bars.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Get life-saving text messages

We live in a communication age.  Mobile computing, text messaging and the Internet allow us to send and receive messages and information at the push of a button.

Utah Valley University has launched a text messaging system for students and staff that provides instant notification of important information that affects people's lives.  Think Virgina Tech.  Think Columbine High.  Both were events on a large campus that ended with lives lost while the rest of the population on those campuses struggled to understand what was happening.

We live in an age where anything can happen in the blink of an eye.  Think World Trade Center on 9/11.  What could be the power of text messaging be as a means of minimizing the damage from terrorist attacks?  When people know what's going on they can then make informed choices that can result in better outcomes.

A few weeks ago, a white powder was discovered in the ROTC offices in the Woodbury Business Building (WB) on the UVU campus.  Anthrax?  Poison?  People were scared.   Everyone errs on the side of caution in these types of incidents and the WB was evacuated until hours later experts declared the substance to be benign.

The text messaging system was employed to keep the campus updated on what was going on.  The information quelled panic while allowing those that received the news to decide whether they wanted to leave campus.

Getting signed up to receive instant text messages regarding important happenings at UVU is so easy.  We just don't know what can happen at any minute, but by being available to news via text messaging from those in the know, we can be sure to stay in the loop, guaranteeing that we know what we must know to stay safe.

Friday, October 9, 2009

If H1N1 were on the stock market, I'd buy.

Are you watching the media event that we call Swine Flu.  Oops, we're not supposed to call it Swine Flu.  Pig farmers claim it gives their product a black eye.  H1N1 (now we're PC!) is receiving more conflicting media coverage than Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today, Americans are being told to brace themselves for explosions of flu, school closures, mass vaccinations and tens of thousands of deaths — or perhaps not. Are the media to blame for the confusion? Absolutely. 

A headline on the September 28th cover of Time Magazine, reads "Flu phobia.  How fear goes viral and what you can do."   The story discusses American's fears, and we have lots of them about swine flu.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issues daily email updates and RSS feeds.  A CDC spokesman says in the Time article, "It's going to be a unique flu season.  The only thing certain is that it's going to be uncertain."

What is the truth about swine flu? Is it real?  Is it media hype?  Does it only exist on a Hollywood sound stage the next lot over from the Apollo 11 moon-landing set?  Unfortunately, it's real.  It's everywhere.  It's a pandemic.

Cases are on the rise.  Fear is rising and the looming shadow of this generation's first pandemic seems to come at a bad time.  Families without health insurance seek refuge in the nation's emergency rooms.  Schools suffer shortages of nurses.  Who wants to risk losing a job in this economy by taking excessive sick time?  How many families are going to get fever, chills, nausea and worse, for Christmas?

The psychological toll piled on top of an already tough life for many could exact a high price from a bankrupt public psyche that is plodding towards a dreadful holiday season short on cash, enthusiasm and optimism.  We have had some fat years and how could things get so bad, so fast?

These are some of the questions many are asking and there are few answers to console.  Of the answers that experts do have, one of the most chilling is the certainty that H1N1 is for real, and that people are dying.  Sadly, more children are dying from this strain of the flu than any other in recent history.

The CDC keeps great statistics and their latest headline declares that 76 children have died so far this year from swine flu.  Reportedly, the highest number of children killed by any strain of the flu has been 88, and our year has three months left.  Illness is accelerating.  Hospitalizations are increasing.  The death count is rising.  If H1N1 were on the stock market, I'd buy.

Despite the uncertainty comment, the CDC guarantees a few things: nearly half the country, including pregnant women, children, and anyone with asthma, diabetes or heart disease, will face a higher risk of getting seriously sick.

Oh, and another sure bet:  this virus could turn really deadly at any time.

This week's release of the first swine flu immunizations marks the most ambitious vaccination program ever undertaken in U.S. history.  All amid increasing skepticism surrounding all vaccinations' ties to autism, as well as the publicized uncertainties that this vaccine was produced too fast, without appropriate time to be proven.

My 9-year-old had the flu all last week.  Did he have swine flu?  Does it matter?  He ran a fever for three days and then he was back to normal; wiping his nose on his shirt and his greasy taquito fingers on his pants.  What are you going to do if you get the flu?  Are you going to get immunized?  Take the poll on the left and see where you stand.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Shout out to all stupid texting drivers. (You're all stupid)

I'm so sensitive to drivers that are texting.  I see you everywhere!  I can spot you from far away.  Your car has that hesitant, meandering tack to it, like a tipsy drunk, weaving and lurching down the road.

When I pull alongside, there you are, paying more attention to your phone than to your driving.  More attention to your messages than my kids buckled in the back seat.  Way more attention to that tiny screen, than to the lady pushing the stroller into the crosswalk, that abruptly stopped at the curb, when you didn't.

You are rude.  You are careless.  You are thoughtless.  You shouldn't be on the road.  There are laws to punish you for texting while driving.  Yet, you can't help yourself.  You're addicted to your text messaging

Do you know what the definition of an addiction is?  First, an addict continues to perform their addictive behavior despite all costs or consequences.  Second, an addict uses their addiction to soothe themselves, or to get a positive emotional result.

What is it for you?  What hole are you trying to fill with texting that would be worth your life, or my life, or the lives of my kids that are peacefully strapped into their seats, trusting that everyone is being smart and safe.

But you're not safe, nor smart.  You're stupid.  You are oblivious to the carnage that you can cause when you're distracted.  Two cars moving at 35 miles per hour emit a lot of energy when they collide.  That energy transfers onto the occupants that are ill-equipped to absorb tons of kinetic energy.

Do you have any idea what that could look like?  Take a look at this.

Statistics prove that reaction times are slower for texters than for drunk drivers.  Texting while driving is dangerous.  It's stupid.  It's careless and it's thoughtless of the safety of others sharing the road that are depending on everyone to be responsible and safe.

Stop texting while driving people! When will you texters take responsibility?  When will the rest of us be assertive to let texting drivers know how we feel?  What can we do to get these menaces off the roads?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Who should die first?

How many Americans are surprised at the unfolding depth and breadth of the homegrown terrorist plot linked to a Colorado man alleged to be a stateside al Quaida operative?  Najibulla Zazi is the 24-year-year-old Afghan native, now enjoying legal U.S. residency, charged with planning the construction and detonation of potent hydrogen peroxide bombs in New York City.

Zazi was in contact with several other al Quaida agents in the U.S. as he traveled from his Denver home to New York City around the 9/11 anniversary earlier this month.  This breaking story should be a wake up call to anyone that has fallen into a sense of complacency.  Terrorists aren't quitting.  They feel justified that their cause is warranted and demanded by their god and so their passions for their terrorist activities are deep and fervent.

As laymen, most U.S. citizens are ignorant to the diligent efforts that our security forces employ every day to keep us safe.  Homeland security must remain a top priority and every citizen needs to unite in supporting the government's efforts to keep us safe.

The religious zealots that are plotting to kill us will not stop any time soon.  Therefore we can't stop preparing and working to root out the terrorists plotting against us while they quietly live and work in our American towns and cities.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that in one day this week, four separate terrorist plots were discovered and thwarted.  Two plots involved planned car bombs in Illinois and Dallas, Texas, reminiscent of the 1995 Murrah Building bombing in Oklahoma City, killing 168 innocent Americans, including 19 children.

The Dallas bomb plot involved the 60-story Fountain Place office building, the target of a 19-year-old Jordanian man.  The suspect was given a fake bomb by an undercover FBI agent, the Tribune story reported.

Stay alert!  Stay faithful!  Stay united!  Terrorists live and die to tear our country apart, hoping to watch us crumble.  Muslim radicals think that our destruction is their religious mandate.  They will not stop.  This means that we cannot stop either.

Who should die first?  Us or them?  Do more American children and their parents have to die by more bombings on quiet beautiful mornings before all Americans will finally unite in homeland security efforts?  Those efforts include offensive war abroad such as in Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond where terrorists hide, plan and train.  Who should die first?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cover your damned mouth!

I had just arrived at my favorite convenience store to refresh myself with an ice cold Dr. Pepper.  It was a muggy, dirty day and my car's AC hasn't been purring like a kitten the past few....well, all summer actually.  So, long story short, I was t-h-i-r-s-t-y.

I strode through the door, a man on a mission, beelining for the fountain drinks.  Five seconds of fast walking got me halfway to the fountain of refreshment when in a split second, my entire situation changed.  Ten feet away, stepping back from the fountain, was a young man.  A laborer, by the look of his clothes and sun-darkened skin.  He was 10 feet from me.  He wore a dirty shirt and tattered jeans.  He held a brimming soda cup in each of his dirty hands, condensation beading up on shiny white plastic cups like frost painting a winter's window pane.  What a luck man!

In the split second between stepping back and turning, he began to raise his left hand, as though to draw icy refreshment through the protruding shiny red straw.  Beads of condensation began to run down the sides of the cup.  Refreshment was imminent and I couldn't wait to get mine.

In the next split second he lurched his head spasmodically forward, thrusting his jaw and head away from his shoulders as though his collar bones were on fire, needing to get as far from them as possible.  And in an instant, he exploded.  Not from the imagined fire in his shoulders.  His mouth exploded, with a gigantic spray as he sneezed - uncovered and unashamed - into the closing gap between me and the fountain of refreshment.

A droplet of condensation splattered on the store's dirty floor.  Time froze.  Aerosolized sputum rained to the ground and I was certain that before freezing in my tracks, I felt their mist settle on my forearms.

My reaction was fast and furious.  "Cover you damned mouth," I sternly fired at him.  He shuffled past me without a second glance, seemingly oblivious to what had just happened.  After returning to the fountain from washing my hands, I wondered how many others were behaving so carelessly?

Simple things will give everyday people a chance to break a pandemic.  H1N1 is a looming healthcare phenomenon right before our eyes, heralding back to days that we never dreamed could impact hemispheres of the earth again.

Simple things will make the difference.  Washing our hands.  Washing them often.  Washing them right....often.  Covering our mouths the right way is another simple thing.  Health experts suggest coughing or sneezing into the crook of the elbow is a great way to minimize the spread of droplet-borne diseases.  Hands stay clean, and the droplets are absorbed into the sleeve's fabric.  This site shows you how.

If you can't remember these simple things, just remember to cover your damned mouth!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How can we be so ungrateful?

I was in my dentist's waiting room that infamous September morning. Pearl Harbor of the new millennium was vividly playing out on television as repetitive clips of airliners slicing into the World Trade Center towers played again and again, as though news producers were hoping that the next replay would have a better outcome. As the day wore on, one unbelievable story after another interrupted the loop of video clips.

I've seen some crazy and unbelievable things on this job, but as the sun set on that day, I was numbed by what I had witnessed. I remember an announcer stating that America had entered a new era; terrorism had struck American soil and our lives were never going to be the same.

President Bush came to ground zero and inspired everyone there. Thousands of New York firemen, police and emergency services workers rushed to help strangers. We watched as many of them died beneath the collapsing towers. As the day wore on, piece by piece, bucket by bucket, they searched for survivors. They searched for strangers that they had never met. Giving the best of themselves in a dark hour, Americans rallied to bolster each other and gave what they had to help someone, anyone, that they didn't know that had either survived or was beneath the rubble.

9/11 is the greatest tragedy I have seen in my lifetime. It won't be the worst tragedy I will see in my lifetime. Already, only eight short years after Islamic fundamentalists committed mass murder in the name of their god, Americans themselves are turning on their country and beginning to wander down a dark path that is weakening America, softening it for a knockout punch by another terrorist movement.

Yesterday I followed a car displaying a bumper sticker that read "I'm already against the next war". I shook my head. Earlier that day I had watched a documentary that revealed the living casualties of the Iraq and Afghanistan war efforts. Young Americans are serving in these wars to preserve what the 9/11 terrorists wanted to destroy; freedom, democracy, liberty, all that we take for granted every morning when we awake.

Almost 3,000 Americans died from the 9/11 attacks. Another 5,000-plus have died fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. These numbers don't reflect the tens of thousands of lives that are affected by the death of that one individual. The numbers are terrible. But more terrible would be the death of the American way that we seem to be taking for granted each day. While certain death unfolded above them, rescuers rushed to help eight years ago today. Every day, frightened soldiers rush forward to do their part to ensure that tomorrow we can again awaken unmolested one more peaceful morning. You can send them your support here.

Yet, there are dissenters, conspiracy theorists and protesters that clamor and accuse. They are tearing our country down from within. Our constitution gives them the freedom to do that. Yet, citizen treason in the name of constitutional rights is still treason.

It seems a time to build nationalism and to build America to withstand what is a predictably violent future. It is time to pull together to preserve this country that we love. It is never a time to pull against each other. We live in the greatest country in the history of the modern world. We wake up everyday to the peaceful routine of our lives. We can't be naive to the plotting terrorists that are waiting for their next chance to attack. We can't be naive to the sacrifices made to preserve our peaceful way of life. How can we be so ungrateful? What will you do today to contribute to make America strong?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Breaking a pandemic

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) issues a weekly report on the latest developments regarding the H1N1 virus, aka Swine Flu. Earlier this summer the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that H1N1 had become a pandemic, affecting populations throughout the world.

This strain of influenza is unique in a couple of ways and current areas of concern from the CDC are the effects that this flu has on the younger demographic. CDC estimates that over 1 million Americans have been sickened by swine flu, resulting in over 8,000 hospitalizations this year, and over 550 deaths. Over 40 of those deaths have been of children. These statistics were just published in the CDC's Journal of Morbidity and Mortality and reflect numbers compiled since April 2009 when swine flu was first identified within U.S. borders.

As our country prepares to enter the traditional flu season, health care officials from all levels are voicing quiet and terse concern regarding what this flu season might hold. Influenza is traditionally unpredictable, say epidemiologists. Early pre-season predictions from CDC officials calculate that over 120 million Americans will come into contact with the swine flu, and that over 90,000 could die from complications associated with H1N1 infection. That figure is more than double the deaths recorded during flu season.

As school resumes, the CDC encourages grade school educators to teach their students important skills to break the cycle of infection. Simple tactics such as frequent and effective hand-washing. Teaching youngsters to sneeze into their shirt sleeves, or the crook of their elbow, can reduce the spread of infection from contaminated hands.

Can smart handwashing and smart sneezing break a pandemic? We're going to see as this flu season unfolds.

For more info click here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A fireman's wife

I sneak out of the house five mornings each month and sometimes I hurry back in, slip into our bedroom, and leave a note for my wife. Oh, I always leave a note - except for a few times when I've totally forgotten - wanting to remind my wife of 30 years just what she means to me as I slip out the door, and head down the hill to the station.

On this job, the "helping someone on the worst day of their life" job, I rely upon a lot of my personality and my life's experiences, which I use to help the people I encounter. A lot of that experience stems from my wife. Through her life with me, she has helped people she'll never know - all through me.

I have seen her struggle with my work. I think she might be a little afraid sometimes, but she trusts that I know what I'm doing. She gets lonely mostly. Those quiet, late nights, while I'm sleeping, or maybe out on a call, she's in front of her computer playing solitaire or on Facebook. It's not easy being a fireman's wife; lots of missed school events and soccer games. Birthdays are never celebrated on the day, but on the next day when Poppa is home from work. It's not easy being a single parent - especially when you're really not single.

I don't bring home most of the bad stuff. But, once in awhile, I rely upon my best friend to buoy me when I'm upset about a call, or just tired from being up all night. She's never disappointed me; always willing to let me sleep or to listen.

I hear alot that it takes a special person to do this work. But I'd counter that it takes someone even more special to support the people doing this work. The wives, husbands and friends that are our support systems. My wife, Lisa, is that person for me. She is there for me. She inspires me. She teaches me and she is the reason I always come home.

I love you, baby.