Dallas Firefighters Museum
This has been a difficult time in our nation’s history and in the history of the state of Texas: two significant explosions, within a week. I am saddened that two young men decided to explode a bomb at the Boston Marathon. The carnage was indescribable; but, the human sacrifice, courage and love demonstrated in the minutes following show the heart of what it means to be an American.
That immeasurable compassion and caring was soon to be demonstrated a few days later when the fertilizer plan in West, TX exploded. People, who were members of volunteer fire departments and some, who just wanted to help, lost their lives in service to their fellow citizens. Captain Kenny Harris of the Dallas Fire Rescue gave his life helping people from the West, TX community where he lived. But he worked with all of us in Dallas.
As Deputy Chief, part of my duties is as head of the Urban Search and Rescue squad of the Dallas Fire Rescue was to go and honor Captain Harris in the only way we knew how that day … by helping search the rubble of the plant and the houses demolished in the explosion. So that is what 35 of us from the Dallas Fire Rescue did. Even though we are well trained and we know our jobs…some jobs are just tough and this was one.
After returning home, I began to think once more about our plans to renovate the Dallas Firefighters Museum in order to expand our fire and life safety education programs. I thought about all of the DISD second graders who will come to the Museum so that we might teach them about knowing their address-not just their cell phone number, and the importance of not being afraid of firefighters in a fire; of how they will be able to crawl up in a fire engine and ambulance and look around and touch the knobs and horn and see what it looks like inside. Should they ever need one, they’ll know what they look like and that both of these vehicles are there to keep them safe. I thought about the 10-14 year olds who will come to our summer day camps where we talk about what it takes to be a firefighter and the importance of staying in school and learning science, technology, engineering and math—because today’s Dallas Fire Rescue needs good “scientists” in order to stay one of the top Departments in the nation. And, I thought about the seniors trying to stay in their homes for as long as their health will allow and how we can help them by offering classes, seminars and recommendations for safety around the home.
What started as a dream for me and the Board has turned into a passion and an important public safety need. At the Dallas Firefighters Museum we strive every day with each person, child or family who comes through our doors to share the history of the Department, as well as important messages of safety and personal awareness. You’ll be hearing more about our plans in the coming months or stop by the Museum and we’ll share the drawings!
There is no way the citizens of West or the spectators and runners in the Boston Marathon could have imagined how their lives would changed later that fateful day. However, in the great City of Dallas and with the strong , smart and well-trained Dallas Fire Rescue and Police Departments , we can be prepared in order to know what to do, who to call and how to help each other should such an emergency arise.
Please continue to pray for the families involved in these two tragedies, including the family of
Capt. Kenny Harris