The students at Welcome Home Ranch were treated to a tour of the Chandler Firefighter Training Center set up by Kenny Crouch. Battalion Chief Norm Germain led the tour and taught the students about the firefighter code and basic life-saving skills. The students were each given the chance to run through the firefighter obstacle course and practice new CPR techniques on training dummies. Enjoy the following short stories written by three of the students and more photos and video at the end…

The Brotherhood We Share

by Student M.C.

I put on the Chandler Fireman jacket and helmet, grabbed the 30-pound fire hose, threw it over my shoulder and with a new found respect for fire fighters everywhere started running up six flights of stairs. In doing so, I ran under a sign saying, “Ability determines what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you’re doing, and Attitude determines how well you do it.” The words on that sign stuck with me up and down the stairs and past Battalion Chief Norm Germain’s smiling face.

My Welcome Home brothers and I are in a fight for our lives. We know we are capable of succeeding and graduating from the Welcome Home program. We all keep each other motivated in this struggle and our attitudes definitely determine how smoothly the operation goes. Graduating classes in the fire academy consider themselves brothers—a family. They have each others’ backs—no matter what—until death. That’s the same relationship I have with my Welcome Home family—my brothers.

Before this program I was close to death, in fact, I welcomed it. I hoped for it. The program and my brothers pulled me out of the fire, and gave me something to live for. Now I’m not a fire fighter by any means, but I do understand the brotherhood they share and that alone is something to respect. I trust the Chandler FIre department with my life any day. Thanks guys for the awesome day!

Our Code in Common

by Student R.M.

The other day, my family and I had the privilege of learning how to save lives in the form of CPR. Expecting to spend a good couple hours in a classroom with little to no hands on time, what proceeded was a pleasant surprise. We arrived at the Chandler Fire Department Training Center and met an extremely enthusiastic Norm Germain who was there to give us a glimpse into the lives of firefighters. He had just gotten off a 24-hour shift, had a sore throat, and yet was thrilled to be able to teach us—all of which is rather respectable!

Norm gave us a tour of the facility, let us try out their obstacle course, and taught us how to perform CPR on adults, children, and even infants. What astounded me above all else though was the many stark similarities between the firefighters’ code and our own code here at Welcome Home.

One such similarity is the fact that men like Norm must follow their last direction along a set status structure and not come back on it. When lives are on the line and time is of the essence, there can be no room for error. The cost is too great. As we are a family here in this community, so are the firefighters of Chandler. They greatly stress the importance of helping one another along the philosophical lines of each one teach one. This being said, some core values, fundamentals, and ways of life are objective truths no matter which walk you find yourself in. Some truths always shine through regardless of where you hail from, what religion you may or may not practice, and independent of your employment expertise and skill set. Above all else, for you to be successful as a human being, there is a code that must be followed. Norm Germain follows this code. I strive to follow and personify this code as well in order to be the best person I can be. Look at the world through many lenses, and the world will return the favor.

Firefighters: Difference Makers!

by Student C.S.

I would like to start by saying I have a new found respect for firefighters. This week I was fortunate enough to go to the Chandler Fire Training Center. It really put things into perspective after running up 6 flights of stairs in a helmet and jacket carrying a 30-pound hose. These firefighters are a tough group of individuals.

For instance, Battalion Chief Norm Germain was sick without a voice, just got off of a 24-hour shift and still took time to teach us all about the brotherhood firefighters share. I’ve never been a firefighter but I feel like I can relate with my brothers here. No matter rain or shine, dancing on the clouds or crawling in the dungeons, we are here for each other!

In addition to all the fun we had and the respect we earned for firefighters, we also learned CPR which will change at least one life. I give a big thanks to Norm and all the firefighters in this world. Hats off to you! Thank you for being difference makers!



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