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Facebook is amazing.

I’m sure no one could have told me back in the day while I was hanging out in the schoolyard that in the year 2011, I’d be living in Michigan and chatting with people over the internet.  I would’ve looked at you and said, “GET OUTTA HERE!”

Besides Facebook, we also have the ever popular electronic mail, Twitter, and Skype for forms of communication. (Last night in an e-mail, a friend informed me that a certain someone from the neighborhood still doesn’t have a computer. I won’t mention no names)

Social networking has put me in contact with so many wonderful people from the past. People I grew up with and of course the older guys from the neighborhood that I watched from afar.

A few days ago I caught up with someone from the neighborhood who, as a kid, I would often see around the neighborhood; I hung out with his younger brother from time to time. Both guys went on to become firemen.  We got to talking about the job, and the many guys from the neighborhood that became firemen. The total amount of guys from the neighborhood is staggering.

When you look in the eyes of a fireman you see their courage, the willingness to help others and of course their human compassion. Do not forget their toughness, attitude and determination.

Young kids look up to them. It’s like a wonderland when they visit a firehouse. Every young boy has owned a toy fire truck. Even now, when I pass a firehouse, I always glance at it. If there happens to be a firemen outside I always make it a point to say hello. When you see a fire truck zooming down the street on their way to a call or even in the parking lot of a supermarket, you look at it.

Face it, you’re in awe!

No one would ever dare say that a fireman’s job is easy – it’s arguably one of the toughest jobs in America; and in my eyes, they are grossly underpaid. These guys run into burning buildings when people are running out.  I know there’s no way I would ever be able to do it. I never even had a thought of becoming a firefighter as a kid. But looking back, boy would I have loved to possibly give it a shot. I would have loved to be part of their brotherhood.

It takes a special person to be a fireman. They are regular guys who give no thought of risking their lives for others. Let me put it this way, they are ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

I found this essay on the noble profession:

What is a firefighter?
He’s the guy next door….
He’s a guy like you and me with warts and worries and unfulfilled dreams.
Yet he stands taller than most of us.
He’s a fireman….
A fireman is at once the most fortunate and the least fortunate of men.
He’s a man who saves lives because he has seen too much death.
He’s a gentle man because he has seen the awesome power of violence out of control.
He’s responsive to a child’s laughter because his arms have held too many small bodies that will never laugh again….
He doesn’t preach the brotherhood of man.
He lives it.
~Author Unknown

With the help of a few people, I compiled a list of guys from the neighborhood who became firefighters. 

Vinny Brunton, Mike Brunton, Tom Brunton

John Powers, Charlie Powers, Bill Kahaly

John Devaney, Pat Devaney, Tom Riches

Howie Bischoff, Roger Riches, Jimmy Riches

Jimmy McGee, Danny McGee, Joe McGee

Danny Ryan, Joe McGee, Joe Heegen

Bobby Ryan, Danny Ryan, Danny Quirke

Paul Quirke, Mike Price, Ricky Ferro

Greg Seminara, Pete Vega, Dennis O’Berg

Bobby O’Berg, Charlie Kawas, Tommy Kawas

Marty Lang, Jimmy Rallis, Kenny Rallis

Mickey Reilly, Pat Reilly, Tommy Dolan

Pat Heegan, Gary Heegan, Williams O’Connor

Mike Maronna, Tommy Gates, Charlie Kasper

Eddie Greene, Gerard Fraser, Eddie Plunkett

Donny Meeg, Frankie Fitzpatrick, Harry Mills

Bobby Pesce, Danny Gorman, Bobby Leaver.

Special Mention: Gammy Martinez, Philadelphia Fire Department

(Thanks to everyone who contributed to this list. I apologize for any omission. Please feel free to add anyone in the comments section that we may have missed or e-mail me and I will add them)