By Rosi Juarez
In faith, you never walk alone. God is always with you when you are called upon to the scene of any tragedy, car accident, or fire. Christian firefighters accept this belief, and the Fireman’s Prayer reflects this Christian conviction. Their strength, their courage, their devotion to duty and helping others is all captured and expressed fervently in the simple, but powerful, words of the Fireman’s Prayer.
The author is unknown, but in reality, each of us knows the firefighter who wrote it. They are is the first responder who reacts without question or hesitation to each and every call to duty. They respond quickly to the call for help. They perform their duty selflessly. They give comfort and save lives without regard for their own. They know the words because they live them.
In today’s busy world, the duties of a firefighter encompass so much more. They are trained not only in putting out flames but in so many other emergency medical services. When a firefighter arrives on the scene of a disaster, they are the first to comfort a frightened, injured person who has never been in that situation before. And the first words of comfort the injured victim hears are the firefighter’s, “Hey, buddy, you’re going to be alright”.
Imagine the firefighter’s emotional panic and distress when those words are uttered to their own child!
Give me the strength to save some life,
whatever be its age,
Help me embrace a little child
before it is too late!
On a clear, sunny Saturday in June 2015, Thomas Lake Road volunteer firefighter Aaron Van Riper responded to a distress call for a head-on collision near Riverside, Texas. A car had crashed head-on with an oncoming pickup truck
Arriving at the scene, Van Riper took in the situation and the mangled condition of the car. His first instinct when he saw “nothing left of the car” was to question how anyone could have survived. Then he realized it was his wife laying there on the ground after having been ejected on impact. His son was pinned inside. It was his family!
He describes his panic after seeing his injured son, but Aaron’s quick thinking and his emergency training skills prevailed and he was able to provide the onsite care needed and helped other first- responders lift his injured family by helicopter to Houston for the life-saving surgeries needed. With God’s grace, the Van Riper family recovered after their stay in the hospital.
God walks beside them, His love shines through, and He answers the firefighters’ prayers in their daily performance of a challenging and demanding duty.
Enable me to be alert
and hear the weakest shout
And quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out
The “fire” near Salt Lake City, Utah was a vehicle submerged upside down in the Spanish Fork River. When three police officers, Tyler Beddoes, Jared Warner, and Bryan Dewitt along with two firemen, Paul Tomadakis and Lee Mecham, arrived on the scene, they did not yet know who was trapped underwater. A car had apparently crashed into the cement barrier on the bridge and flipped into the freezing river, but all of them say they heard a mysterious voice pleading for help. It was an adult voice saying, “Help me”.
One of the officers is said to have responded, “We’re trying. We’re trying our best to get in there.” But when they flipped the overturned car, they found 25-year old Jennifer Groesbeck already dead in the front seat and 18-month old, Lily, unconscious and strapped in her car seat in the back. Little Lily had survived with no food, no water. She had dangled upside down for 14 hours with icy river water rushing just below her head.
It was a miracle that the baby survived under such frigid conditions, but the mysterious voice the first responders heard still haunts them. The mystery may never be explained – except in faith.
The fireman’s prayer asks for the strength to help and protect others and for the protection of their family, but never for his/her own life and safety. They walk in faith and believe in God as their refuge and strength on each and every call to duty.