For the last three years, our oldest son, John, has been largely absent
from all the family doings a good portion of the year.
That is because he has been all over the West States fighting forest fires May to October.
As a wild-land firefighter, he is the hero of many.
From Fort Collins, CO, to Billings, MT, to Boise, ID,
and back here in North Idaho,
he has spent many a hot exhausting day this year
fighting the roaring flames that have threatened ranches and homes.
But, although John has loved this seasonal work,
relished the danger,
the grit and determination the job demands,
and the feeling of making a difference,
today is his last day fire fighting.
As he moves on to a career in gunsmithing,
his hero status will not change here at home.
For we recognize in him that which is harder
than fighting raging forest fires with a 40 pound pack on your back in 100 degree weather.
John has earned his valor by being one of the few young men
who has stood for integrity and honor all his days,
no matter his environment.
Now, I value firefighters,
and I am ever so thankful for their service to our communities,
but a man who walks steady even in the midst of great pressure,
who holds his faith and convictions close to his heart when he is the only one,
that man is surely a true hero.
We see God's leading in John's life,
God's protection many a time,
and God's presence through the trials.
With great gratitude to the Lord for all these things,
we thank Him also for giving us
this man for a son.