Once a Firefighter always a Firefighter

I recently received a request for my novel, "Fire Horses," from a member of a Scottish Fire Brigade. It was to be a gift for a member of their department who would be retiring soon. It got me thinking about how much members of the Fire Service are the same. I received information about the man who was retiring and will share it with you. Here is the last e-mail I got from Joe Tinney, the man who requested the book.

Hi Bob,

If you haven't already mailed it, if you could dedicate the book to a guy called Joe Harkins, that would be great. He's due to retire from firefighting at the end of November, but will stay with the service in his role as Chairman of the Retired Employees Association. Just to fill you in, here are some details about him:

Joe Harkins joined Strathclyde Fire Brigade in November 1979 after being a time served carpenter in the shipyards in his native Greenock.

As well as leading by example through his work with the service, he has performed outstanding charitable work, which includes raising over 396,000 pounds for the Fire Fighters Charity, formerly known as the Fire Service National Benevolent Fund.

In his role as Home Visitor, Mr. Harkins has helped people who have needed financial assistance, therapy, and recuperation; he has also visited every Scottish fire service and rescue service and most Scottish fire stations to promote and raise awareness of the charity.

Mr. Harkins has also helped set up a charity for retired members of staff- the SFR Retired Employees Association. The charity supports former fire service employees who feel socially isolated after 30 years of service. Now well established, the network gives its 700 members regular contact with old friends and colleagues.

Crew Commander Joe Harkins was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honors list this year.

Best Regards,

Joe Tinney

I want to thank Joe Tinney for letting us know what a great man Joe Harkins is. We wish Mr. Harkins well in his upcoming retirement. My inscription in his book said… Once a Firefighter, always a Firefighter.

Stay safe my brothers and sisters.

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"Fire Horses" book authored by firefighter R.J. Haig.


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