Sunday, October 10, 2010

Farewell Tour

When one of the members from our agency retires, it is somewhat customary for the retiring member to take a tour around the district and visit the various stations. Usually, this occurs on or near the persons last shift and it is usually done when that person is on duty so that he/she sees the people that they have been working with.

Often, the district commander drives them around or the unit will take a 10-7 training slot and spend a few hours driving them around..

As The K.B.F.P.D. is kind of big, it is sometimes necessary for the retiring member to prioritize his visits as there won't be enough time available to visit all of the stations. The healing place is set down the hill and far away from the rest of the district, so we don't always get a visit from retiring members.

I was sitting at my desk yesterday, gazing out the window, when I noticed a district sedan pull up the driveway and drive into the rear of the station. I didn't recognize the sedan, so I figured it was a Division Chief or somebody coming down to catch me taking the crew to lunch at Nevada Moosey's.

Thus, I was pleasantly surprised when Capt. Geniac limped through the door. Geniac has been on light duty for about six months or so. He partially fell through a hole in the floor and damaged a knee. He had surgery, therapy and all of that and his condition has improved about as much as it can. He is still unable to return to the floor, so yesterday was his last day and he is now retired. Geniac was on his farewell tour.

Geniac came on about two years after I did. As he is five years older than I, the numbers work out OK for him and he will be in pretty good shape financially. We have never socialized, his interests and hobbies are far different than mine.

We competed against each other during several captain's promotional exams and for several years, we finished in the top five. He would place ahead of me one year, I ahead of him the next.  Those were dry times for promotions, for a couple of years only one or two promotions were made. I got lucky one year and made it, he made it a few years later.

Where I really got to know Geniac, was in the trenches when we were at war with the Chief of the K.B.F.P.D. We were both on the Board of Directors of the K.B.F.F.A. and we had picked a bad time to serve.

I have said this before and I will say it again. Going to war is an action of last resort and I would not recommend it unless there is no other option. I won't go into the reason why we went to war, but I feel that it was justified to this day. We were fortunate in that we had a good war-time president, one not unlike Winston Churchill. We were at war for a couple of years and it was the worst time of my career.

It was a crazy time. Fear, paranoia, anger and animosity were the predominate emotions within the leadership of both our agency and that of the labor unit.

Picture if you will, two young engineers meeting in secret with the leadership of the Fire District Management Group, trying to persuade the Chief Officers to sign a Letter of No Confidence. The meeting occurred at a station, one that we had asked the crew to leave prior, so that there would not be any witnesses. We were unsuccessful in our efforts, the Chiefs refused our request. Most of them were forced out within a year anyway, they should have signed. As you may have guessed, the two engineers were Geniac and myself.

The absurdity of this event exemplifies numerous others that occurred during this period of time. Quite often, Geniac and myself were there to assist the president with the battles. I could count on him, he could count on me. I respected Geniac's intellect, judgment and his analytical nature. He rarely let emotion cloud his judgment and always thought every action out.

As we visited with Geniac, some of these war stories came up, events that I have not thought of for many years. The newer members of my crew were incredulous, they have never known anything but the harmonious relationship that we currently enjoy with management.  I hope that the kids realize that the peace and harmony we enjoy is largely due to Capt. Geniac's efforts.

I am glad that Geniac included us in his farewell tour, it was good to see him and rehash some of the events that have made our careers interesting. I wish him well and I hope that his leg does not deteriorate further. He has been an asset to our organization and he will be missed.

Thanks for reading,

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