“Nothing Else Matters”

In January the West Peculiar Fire District firehouse hosted a class called Brotherhood Above All taught by retired FDNY Fire Patrolman Anthony Emanuele. The Raymore Journal was invited to sit in on one of the classes and share the message with the community, and in light of the loss of Chris Tindall last week, we felt this would be a fitting memorial to him.
Anthony Emanuele is certainly the quintessential New Yorker, complete with oversized mustache, strong New York accent, and no nonsense attitude even though he has lived in the Kansas City area for the past six years. He gave a brief history of his time as a fireman, starting as a volunteer at the young age of sixteen. He served fifteen years as a firefighter in New York and experienced the unimaginable on 9/11. He was only fifty yards away when the North Tower collapsed and lost more than twenty-two close friends and another two hundred acquaintances. Since that day, he has been dealing with severe PTSD and has found the best way to deal with it for him is to stay involved with the fire service by helping to keep vehicles in good working condition and by offering these classes. He completed the Kansas City 9/11 memorial stair climb at the Town Pavilion for the last two years and is the President of the newly formed Royal FOOLS chapter of the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads, a training organization for dedicated firefighters in the Kansas City Metro area. Though retired, Emanuele has stayed an active part of local fire departments because it is still his passion.
Emanuele’s main message was that the job is not about individual people in the fire service, but about a well trained team serving their community. “Having the right mental knowledge when you walk into the firehouse for your shift, that everybody’s got your back no matter what kind of problems you might have among yourselves. So when that bell rings you forget about all the other stuff. Everything else does not matter,” said Emanuele. “The one reason you’re here is to help anyone who needs it. Its about the people we serve.”
He reiterated the importance of every firefighter having each others backs. He said it did not mean that they had to get along like best buddies all the time, but it means leaving it all behind in the firehouse and being professional on calls. “When we see things that disturb us, which we are going to see no matter how tough you are, it’s going to bother you. And it’s okay that it is going to bother you. You can’t hold that stuff up inside. You guys will be better firefighters if you talk together. It’s rough,” acknowledged Emanuele.
“Complacency is what kills us in the fire service,” declared Emanuele. He said drills are necessary especially if a firehouse is slow. It has nothing to do with experience or egos and everything to do with being able to trust your fellow firefighters to know how to react in every emergency. “I never thought that I would be fifty yards away from the North Tower that was burning and about ready to fall and that my whole life I had been training for that one day. You can never ever stop training.”
“When you choose to be in this job, you have to treat it like a calling. It is your life because those people out there,” he said using his thumb to point towards the front doors, “are expecting you to act like it is your life. If you only get one thing from what I’ve said, the only thing we are here for is for the people out there. As long as you guys remember that then you are ahead of the game. Nothing else matters.”
Listening to him share his heart and soul about the importance of the Brotherhood of Firefighters and his personal experiences showed just how much these people sacrifice to serve our community. It is a job of great responsibility and it takes a toll on every single person who puts on that uniform. Take time today to thank a firefighter, EMT, or paramedic for all they do to help people on a regular basis.


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