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The Potato Peel, Volume 1, Article 1

True Grit by Chris Goodnight, Firefighter- Meridian Fire

“True Grit is making a decision and standing by it, doing what must be done. No moral man can have peace of mind if he leaves undone what he knows he should have done.” - John Wayne Few bolder words could carry more weight to the fire service than these. We do what must be done, end of story. The job isn’t about us, it’s about them. Our mistakes can take a toll on the mind like a plague. Our shortcomings will always be spotlighted when our ticket is drawn and we aren’t prepared. The fire service doesn’t care how competent you are, how inefficient you’ve become, your rank, or how many years or lack of you’ve got on the job. Our job is to be our own backup plan when things go bad, we are the audible. Our mentality should always be molded by determination, integrity, and the ability to finish the fight. Our creed and desire to serve always pulses freely through our veins with every beat of our heart. Our peace comes from knowing we did what was right. We look back to the times where we did it wrong, and we use that essence to highlight the scars left behind; it always reminds us, so we never forget. We are the current generation of public servants, the ones who answered a calling. We are the current expectation of selfless service for them, whilst forfeiting failure. We did not get to this place on our own; the molding process from those around us never ceases. We must seek out those willing to mold, without being naive that we work with some that would rather see us conform to the simplest of molds, or one lesser than their own. We do our best to cut out the bad and build up with the good. One shot, one split second, is sometimes all we have. Making that initial decision, is hardly the toughest part. Wearing that decision and standing by it, is what separates you from those that just want to show up. Living by your decisions can make you into the person everyone wants showing up. Decisions are either right or wrong, there is no middle ground. Right decisions go unnoticed every day. The best decisions are sometimes the hardest to make. We must put aside the fear of failure, concern of judgment, and the “what if”. Wrong decisions tend to get noticed right away, but it’s making no decision at all that brings the greatest guilt and demise to us all. You live by the decisions you make, and you may die by the ones you fail to make. A man is not born with true grit; he picks it up piece by piece and carries it with him through life. He unearths it in many moments of joy and despair, through love and in hate, in his darkest hour and his brightest day. He must consume it wherever it can be found, but know it is never given away for free. It becomes ingrained in his soul and bound to his beating heart. It thickens the skin and carry’s his burdens with him. Like the salt in the sea, and the wind blowing through the trees, it is a part of him that no one else can see, but its essence is always there. And after his life’s song has been sung, and his final breath falls from his mouth, his grit will be buried with him, consumed by the soils of the earth that surround him. It cannot be measured, it cannot be bartered, and it cannot simply be discarded. True grit is not for the faint hearted. KTF-PTB-DTRT

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