Veteran’s Day is Monday.  I thought I would acknowledge our Veterans (thank you, big time) and some other men and women in town who put their life on the line for us every day, selflessly, without hesitation, for the good of every one of us.  Their strength and fortitude is humbling considering the huge spectrum of exacting work that is expected. 

So, a huge shout out to our police officers and firefighters.  They keep the peace, tame the flames and look good doing it.  What more can you ask? 

The Fire Department’s web site details that they have a “yearly run of 5,900 to 6,400 per year” which makes them the “busiest department, per capita in New Jersey.”  If you have seen them in action, I know you are in awe of them.

September 20, I saw our police officers and fire workers in action, firsthand, managing the blaze on the fourteenth floor of Monroe Tower and the accompanying confusion. 
As the Tired City News was figuring out who to complain about; as the cranky Asbury Park Pallid reporter was wondering what floor the fire was on; as Snooze 12 New Jersey was still setting up their cameras; as WNBC and CNN were phoning in what was already reported locally; as the Faded Star-Ledger waited patiently for the press conference, your intrepid Coaster team had the story and photos on TheCoaster.net.  The Coaster already had the answers and I had time to watch in amazement, Asbury’s Finest at their best.   And objectify a number of them.

It was an 85-degree Thursday and the fire workers were dressed in layer upon layer of gear that weighed countless pounds.  Then, they climbed 14 stories wearing all that stuff and carrying a big hose.  I would have given up after two floors – or honestly, as soon as I saw the outfit.  These men and women have the fierce fortitude to walk towards a situation with an uncountable number of potentially deadly variables.     

I stood on a corner watching outrageously terrifying flames and thick black smoke bulge out of the sliding glass door of the apartment on fire.  Then, smoke and fire billowed out of the door and windows.  Minutes later we saw the blaze starting to come out of the apartments on the fifteenth floor.  It was horrible, frightening and dramatic. 

On the ground tons of people gathered.  As time passed, the black smoke started to turn dark grey and six firefighters appeared on the apartment balcony, drenched from hosing down the flames in ungodly temperatures.  It was amazing.  Then, we saw more firefighters, dressed in black and orange, with reflective accents peering out the side broken window. 

As they moved closer to the edge of the balcony and fresher air, I saw each of them remove their mask to reveal a face that wore expressions of seriousness, exhaustion, focus and relief.  Their calm movements spoke loudly, “just another day on the job.”

That’s more than most people I know could ever do in a day, on any job. 

These fire workers and police officers are top tier – nothing builder’s grade about them.  Give them their props.  We truly can’t make anything happen in this town without them.