Meet, Don Adams. Retired firefighter of 34 years in Rutland, Vermont, two knee replacements took him out, but he left as the lead driver on Ladder Truck #1.
“Most of my career I fought indoor fires.”
He is a big guy, like Big Guy, “I miss it, miss the guys, loved the job, but these took me out,” he is rubbing his knees as we talk.
Don’s older son is a firefighter in the same department that Don once worked, “We have fought the same fires together, he’s good, real good and I wouldn’t say that if he weren’t.”
His younger son, “Chris, he’s a fisherman, in fact we are fishing this tournament together, he’s real good at fishing too….wouldn’t say that…”
Been a rough year or so for Don, “Lost my job and my dad in the same year, me and him were real close, I’m a Jr.”
So meet, Don Adams Jr.
We sat and talked some, I told him what I knew of the Big Guy, told him of my firefighting friends out in Waukegan who also fish, he gave shout outs to both, “I miss my guys, it’s a close group at the fire house, I was a union guy for a long time, always stood up for the guys….”
Don just trails off, not wanting to say anything more about “standing up for my guys,” other than to say, “you do the right thing, I have to lay my head on the pillow at night…”
We talk more, I wish him well.
“The big thing is, I miss helping people, miss that.”
Then as he was about to leave, “Oh, you know, I just recently joined a volunteer fire department out where I live. I told them up front, I was square with them about what I can and can’t do, and they took me in, great bunch of guys, going to get back into it…”
And he was gone before I could ask any other questions, walked off down the beach here with his son.
Wherever it is that Don Adams Jr is now a volunteer firefighter at, know this, soon the people of that town will be able to lay their heads on the pillow at night and know that if anything happens that night, or day, one of Vermont’s best will show up to care for you.
As did the Big Guy.
“…raise your glass to the good…”
This was the hardest one to do.
Struck way too close to home.
Way too close.