- Who gives himself with his alms feeds three,
- Himself, his hungering neighbor, and me.”
- - The Vision of Sir Launfal, James Russell Lowell
I want to thank all the people who took the time to submit entries for the first contest held on the blog – we enjoyed reading and hearing about you or your loved ones.
The decision was tough, but ultimately, we decided upon Kristy and Steve who are getting married on Friday, October 3, 2008. Each person on my judging panel felt that the volunteer-ism shown by these two embodies the qualities I was hoping to find when I announced this contest. They give of themselves – putting their lives in danger, not expecting financial gain for doing so. I’ve had the chance to talk with Kristy on the phone and I’m truly excited about the opportunity to work with her, Steve, and their family and friends.
Here is an excerpt from the letter I received from Desireé, the person who nominated them:
Steve and Kristy met almost 4 years ago while both working nights and weekends at the same local restaurant. A short time after becoming coworkers, Kristy learned that the reason Steve was taking on the long, late night hours was not because he wanted to, but rather out of necessity. In addition to being a full time college student, Steve also volunteered all of his free time as a fire fighter and EMT for the town fire department. The first time I met Steve, I vividly remember the silver band worn around his wrist. Engraved on it, the name of a fallen fire fighter who lost his life on 9-11. To him, it didn’t matter that he had never met this man, it was an honor to display the name of a hero to anyone he met, at every chance he got. In that moment, I knew I was shaking the hand of a compassionate man and for that, I was thrilled. During that same year, Steve’s dedication to providing the community countless hours of service earned him the award and title of “Fire Fighter of the Year”. This all came as no surprise to our family, anyone who knows Steve also knows how dedicated he is to his passion.
Kristy, recognizing the difference her boyfriend was making through his unselfish volunteer work, soon decided to join forces with Steve. With the encouragement he gave her, she too soon began giving up numerous weekends of leisure time and dedicated them instead, to unpaid training for the fire department. In Kristy’s first year of service and 2 years after first meeting Steve, she too earned the award and title of “Fire Fighter of the Year”. Other than the departments’ chief, Kristy responded to more calls that any of her fellow volunteers, all the while juggling her full time medical billing career. Watching her commitment for saving lives grow into her own personal passion was again, amazing. So many times I have seen write ups in the paper or on the web and more than once, Kristy and Steve have been on the front lines of life saving rescues.
This now brings us to where these two are today. Steve recently graduated college and accepted a career fire fighting position in his home township of Winslow, NJ. We are so proud of him and his willingness to do what had to be done to finish his degree, but also, always finding time to be with our family. Kristy still holds a full time career as a medical biller as well as continuing to attend biweekly, unpaid training classes on the weekends for the fire department. In addition to Steve’s new position, he also continues to volunteer his free time with Kristy at the fire department where this all started. To help defer some of the impending wedding costs, he also works any available shifts that he can as an EMT. Sometimes when I think about how much these two accomplish in a week, I wonder how they find time to sleep.
Andrea, your work is something I would have wanted for my own wedding and what I KNOW they’d love and appreciate, should they be chosen as winners. In fact, I cannot think of two more unselfish, courageous, deserving people in my life.
To end, I wanted to quote one line of a famous fire fighting movie, Ladder 49. Each time I watch this movie, the same line makes me think of Kristy and Steve. Everything they know. All that they love. Is what they risk every day.
I thank you for your time and know that even if they aren’t chosen, you’ll have gotten a glimpse into the lives of these 2 special people. To end, their wedding date is October 3rd, 2008. More information is available on their wedding website at: www.steveandkristy.com