Recently the Chairman of NVFC, Kevin Quinn attended and participated in attending a fire department health screening. This invitation took on a new urgency for further medial testing later discovering an underlining medical condition not previously suspected but now known. If you ever think such things are not in your future because you feel just fine, let me share a few lines from the recent email he sent to the NVFC Board on what started out as an invitation to visit a friend and NVFC board member.
You all know how passionate I am about the “boots on the ground” volunteer firefighters across our great United States of America. As many of you know, heart disease and cancer are leading killers of our nation’s firefighters. We keep telling firefighters to have annual check-ups and physicals to avoid becoming a statistic. I believe it is important to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.
As a result of Chief Jeff Cash’s prompting, David Finger and I travelled to Cherryville, NC to participate in an occupational firefighter physical that Jeff’s fire department offered. Jeff really spoke highly of the company that rolled into his fire department and turned his training room into a mini-lab. Much to my surprise the result of my physical was a referral to my personal physician and then a follow up with a cardiologist on August 24. After a few abnormal tests, I had a Diagnostic Cath which I expected would be some insertion of a stent or two. Instead, my cardiologist found that I need to have heart bypass surgery, which is now scheduled for September 16.
While I am recovering, the important business of the National Volunteer Fire Council goes on. Steve Hirsch from Kansas is our First Vice Chairman and he will be acting in my absence as the leader of our organization. He and I have a very close relationship and I know he will keep the organization running smoothly. As you know, we have much work to do this fall on finalizing the strategic plan, developing a physicals position, etc. My experience is proof that physicals really are a lifesaving measure for our nation’s firefighters.
In the meantime, if I may be so bold, I would ask for your prayers for myself, my family, and for the medical professionals that will be treating me. God apparently has a plan to use me to sound the alarm on cardiac health, and I look forward to doing what I can to keep our American volunteer firefighters Heart Healthy! I thank Jeff and the medical professionals for saving my life. Early intervention and discovery will make all the difference! I wish to thank each of you for your professionalism in making the right decisions that positively impact our Volunteer Boots on the Ground.