Tim was elected Chief at the start of this year and I couldn't help but wish Austin had been there. I know he would have been so proud of his Dad and happy to be on a department under his leadership. I'm sure it was bittersweet for Tim as well. I know that everything he does for that department, he does it with Austin in mind. But I also know Austin is looking down and smiling on all the firefighters, especially his Dad, every day.
It was inevetible that Austin would share of love of the department just like his Dad. Before he was even born, his Dad began collecting fire trucks and other fire-related toys for him. Austin was riding in a firetruck before he could see over the dash. We dressed him in a dalmation outfit and he was in Cromwell's annual calendar picture on his first year. And in the early years, the majority of his birthday parties were at the fire truck, complete with a ride on top for all the guests.
I expected him to outgrow his love of fire trucks at some point, or at least for it to lose it's spark. However, Austin was just as excited as a first-timer each time he got to ride and explore the trucks. On road trips or vacations, it wasn't uncommon for us to stop so Tim and the boys could visit other departments and see other trucks.
Throughout grade school, Austin's papers would always include "firefighter" as the answer to what he wanted to be when he grew up. I'm sure it was among his proudest moments when he was finally able to join and become a Jr. Firefighter.
I know it was his Dad's.
As a mom, I was so nervous for him to join. Of course my main concern was him being injured but I also worried about him being accepted. It was as if he'd always been there though and I guess because, in a way, he had been. Austin carried the best qualities of every firefighter, even though he never went on an emergency run. Some people are just born to be a hero...and Austin certainly was.
I'm sure Tim treasures the memories they have together at the department. Tim was so proud to have Austin follow in his footsteps. I only wish they could've gone on an actual run together once, father and son.
Instead, Tim carries on the only way he knows how..trying to make Beaver Dam's fire department the best it can be and honoring Austin's legacy every step of the way.