Behind My Badge is a spellbinding story of courage, commitment, and unwavering faith. Captain Mike Rossman takes us behind the scenes of the City of Miami Fire Department over a period of 30 years of service. As his hard-won promotions take him from rookie to Battalion Captain, he tells us what it's really like to be a firefighter or paramedic on a Rescue crew - from learning how to lay a hose or hook a ladder to departmental policies like "skipping." Whether he and his men are responding to a multi-alarm fire, rushing to a riot scene, saving the life of a cardiac arrest patient, delivering a child, or treating a horse, they have to count first on each other. Captain Rossman's stories are honest compassionate, often inspirational, and interlaved with the wry humor born of facing danger on a daily basis.
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About the Author
I was born on May 17, 1938 in Miami, Florida into a family that eventually numbered six children. My mother was an ardent Irish Catholic with a strong work ethic. My father, a policeman for 27 years, was a powerful role-model for his children in his belief of public service and helping others. As the third born in the family, I followed an older sister, Thelma, and an older brother, Robert (whom we all called Bobby). We went to a small Catholic School where Thelma and Bobby were among the smartest in their classes.
My three younger siblings, Shirley, Richard, and Edwin, all did well at school too. But schoolwork, especially reading, came harder to me and my grades showed it. I can remember attempting to follow in the footsteps of my two older siblings and having the nuns constantly tell me that I was not trying. One nun in particular in the 6th grade, used to make me put out my hands so she could hit them with her ruler every time I received a bad report card. Either despite this nun or because of her, I did graduate from high school in 1957, although I was in the lower half of the class.
I got married at the age of twenty to a wonderful girl, Dianne. We were truly high school sweethearts because we met when she was in 10th grade and I was in the 12th. I was a tall, skinny guy at the time with brown eyes and black hair, but Dianne - wow! - I thought she was beautiful with her blonde hair and blue eyes. She was only seventeen when we got married. Our marriage certainly has had staying power, because at the time of this writing and three great children later - Dianne Marie, Michael, and Steven - we have been married for forty-three years.
So it was as atwenty-one year old, newly married man that I took the test for the City of Miami Fire Department. At the time, that was the minimum allowable hiring age. Although I passed the written test, I failed the depth perception test (you had to be able to line-up two poles even with each other from a distance of eight feet), which meant I could not be a fireman. Later in 1965, when I was nudging twenty-eight, I retook the test for the Fire Department, passed it, got hired this time, and started at the Fire College on February 14, 1966. That's right, Valentine's Day!
The position I loved most in my career in the Fire Department was that of Rescue Battalion Captain. The men and women who worked on the A-shift Rescue Units became as close to me as my family. In fact, sometimes I still believe that they are my family, my extended family; and they are one of the reasons I am writing this book. And to them, I was always Mike.
Let me share a little secret with you. My given name is Morris H. Rossman, but anyone who knows me also knows how much I dislike the name Morris. No special reason, I just don't like it, so I asked everyone I met to call me Mike. On my retirement my co-workers presented me with a fireman's ax and a plaque. On the ax is the inscription: "Captain M.H. (Mike) Rossman, from all of us who have had the pleasure to serve under you." On the plaque is written the following poem:
Presented to Capt. M.H .(Mike) Rossman,
With sincere appreciation for your dedication and really long duration in the Rescue administration.
With you as our foundation we gave them medication, with proper intubations and successful resuscitation.
While assigned to our station you granted us vacations, as we served the Haitians who needed transportation.
Without a donation we threw in Salvation, thank God for your creation, we won't forget your quotation, "I did that before you were born kid."
Many of the forty-three men and women working with me when I was Rescue Battalion Captain would sometimes come to me with problems either from work and/or home. Whatever the problem was, they always knew the conversation would end with "I did that before you were born, kid." Each verse of the inscription on their parting gifts to me holds a special meaning now and will always be in my heart.
This book is written from my memory of events over a period of thirty years of service, the notes I kept, and copies of my field reports. And any discernible differences between the truth and what is written in this book is truly unintentional. It is about the City of Miami Fire Department as seen through my eyes and felt in my heart.
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Behind My Badge based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
I felt the book to be fair a honest..4 stars