MENTOR STORIES

Greg Lilbourne

Brantford, ON

Doug was my first Captain. I can't touch on everything he taught me but one lesson I never forgot.

I was as green as you could be. We were responding to my first working, first in structure fire. Upon arrival Doug gave his size up and we were going into fast attack. Before assigning tasks to those of us on the back, before getting off the truck, before doing his 360, Doug turned to all of us and asked what we think. Each guy gave a brief assessment and Doug listened. I was quiet. He asked me "Greg what do you think ?"
I kinda mumbled out, I was too new to have an opinion.

Doug nodded and assigned tasks, we attacked the fire, it was a quick knockdown and we all felt pretty good about ourselves.
We returned to the hall, started getting the truck back into service and Doug said when everything was done he'd like to talk to me in the office.
I thought, what the hell did I do wrong, at my first fire no less.

In the office he explained to me that we all bring something to the table. No matter of our experience, we all bring something to the table.
He went on to explain that maybe I could have seen something he missed, or something he didn't miss but by me recognizing it adds value. He explained, to make a good decision he needs information. He may act on our information or he may choose to dismiss it for now but he needs everyone's input to make a good decision.

He said that the input we give could save a life !

This really struck a cord with me. From that day forward, I tried to give input. Tried to share information with my brothers and sisters.
Years later I was told that sometimes nobody cares what I might know.

Captain Armstrong's words came back to me that day and I replied " Maybe no one cares but I'll share what I see, what I know, because it may just save a life. We all bring something to the table.

The 2nd mentor I'd like to talk about is Jim Perro Retired local 1552

There isn't one aspect of Jim that I can say stands out, outside of his character. His attitude towards the job, his mental and physical preparedness was second to none. Probably the best crew mate on the job. He has been retired now for a few years and we hadn't worked together for a few years before that but I still try to put the same work ethic into the job he did. I still try to make him proud.