As I reflect back two benchmarks stand out in my head.
First, on that morning I had run out of gas in my old red truck some of you remember as the gas gauge didn’t work. At the time I was working part time rebuilding scuba equipment at Undersea Divers in Beverly and had run out of gas basically half way between the cache and the Beverly waterfront. As I trudged along the road with a filled gas container a helpful person stopped and asked me if I needed a lift.
This person then started to comment on the events unfolding in New York of which I had no idea. I immediatly thought of the team. However, a couple of monlths before I had resigned from the team due to the time conflicts with everything I had going on with young family, work, etc.. After starting my truck I drove to the cache to assist in any way I could not expecting to be deployed. When I explained my purpose for being there I was told in no uncertain terms that “your paperwork was never processed, get your gear.” That individuals statement allowed me to be part of one of the most impactful events of my life and I will never be able to express my thanks enough for that action. The team never did process that paperwork and I have had the honor to be part of this team since it’s start.
Second, I too failed to properly say goodbye to my family. When I got home to get my gear the wife was at work and the kids were at school. I simply left a note on my counter saying that I was going to NY and I would call when I could. Apparently many of us don’t fully understand the impact of what we do has on our families. It wasn’t until I returned that I became aware of that impact. My boys were 17, 15 and 12 at the time. The older two didn’t readily show any outward signs other than being glued to the tv but the youngest was. He was a straight A student who simply stopped all schoolwork and assignments. We didn’t become aware of this until after I had returned and the school contacted us wanting to know if everything was OK at home due to his complete change in demeanor at school. It wasn’t until we were contacted by the school that either Nancy and I and the school knew this cause and effect of my deployment.
Since then, even though they are all grown now, I at least touch base with all my immediate family even if it means I am a few minutes slower getting out the door. We only have one family and there will always be another event.
Deputy Fire Chief Miles Schlichte
Gloucester MA Fire Department
FEMA MATF-01 Safety Officer