Main Content

Features

Diversity the Unspoken Tool

By WILLIAM GREENE, Correspondent | February 01, 2017 | ALABAMA

Story No. 021017145

Diversity the Unspoken Tool

I began my fire service career almost fifteen years ago. I have been very fortunate to work with some great people including a very diverse group of people. I always look at my job as a career. Never would I imagine reading headlines of firefighters committing suicide are seeing firefighters suspended or fired because of racist remarks. Over my time I have seen many levels of diversity. Many of these levels are surface deep. Meaning that is what we see or perceive but, as I got to know people and especially co-workers these surface level differences begin to disappear. Bonds of trust begin to develop and grow which continue to this day. Many times we can look back on our own careers and see how bonds have grown. Many times we hindered these relationships because of surface differences. Often times we let surface differences hinder our trust or respect for someone. If we look past the surface, looking past race, religion, gender. What is it that we see, we are all people. A group of people all called to do the same job. We are all public servants. This family of public servants is a diverse makeup. If you look around your department or division, what do you see? You see a diverse group of men and women. Yes, I know respect is earned but, we must also treat each other with respect. We must not let surface differences hinder this respect for each other. With this being said racism and bullying have no place within the fire service. Every department around this great nation serves a diverse population. We must look at diversity as a tool. Diversity gives us the public servants the ability to serve in a greater capacity. Our diversity allows us to serve different socio-economic backgrounds, cultural, and ethic groups. Diversity allows for growth of talent, skills, and knowledge within a department. This growth acquired through diversity makes a department stronger and more effective. We are all brothers and sisters of the thin red line. Let’s hold the line with pride, honor, and respect.

Lt. William R. Greene M.S. EMT-P
Irondale Fire Department (Irondale, Alabama)
Engine Company Officer

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.