Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Integrity: More Than Just a Word

We are faced with choices everyday. Some are mundane as what we want to eat for lunch, others define who we are, our very character. Everyone has a price, that point in which they put aside their integrity for convenience. Why am I writing about this you ask? Well we watched a scene like this play out at our own local fire department.

I recently received a press release in my email about two Montana City Firefighters being arrested. At first I didn't think much about it but I wondered whom.  We had a meeting that I missed but later found out the details of. Turns out that two of our firefighters, one a ranking captain that had been in the department for over 20 years were using the credit cards from our apparatuses to buy gas for their own cars. The amount totals somewhere between 8-12 thousand dollars. A felony. The captain had been doing this since 2005. His brother for a little over a year. However his brother, had also stolen an airpack from the station.

They were arrested and could face up to 5 years in jail. It created a need in the fire department for more accountability. What could have become an anti-trusting backlash turned into a push for everyone to be held accountable and a continuation of the trust officers have in the rest of us.

We all have a price. Watch the news, you can see it daily. I don't know what my price is. I don't know if it can ever be discovered. I don't look forward to the day it is. Those that chose to steal, commit fraud, etc choose to for a variety of reasons. Be it personal gain, be it falling on hard times, be it convenience and so on, we do it for benefit. Our captain fell on hard times in a lack of money. He found his price, his lack in integrity.

However it's not so black and white, with the human race it never is. I feel bad for the guy. He did what he had to because he was desperate. However, with the fire department it becomes that much more intense. We are held to a higher standard than most. Mostly because of the image we have to maintain. Pure, strong, moral are just three of the many positive traits we take on to maintain on and off duty. Does that make us infallible, not a chance.

Like I said, everyday we are faced with choices and everyone has a price. I don't know mine, and I don't know which direction I'd take. I like to think that because I have worked as hard as I have, overcome the upbringing I've had to get where I am that I am unmoving in my integrity, but everyone has a price. My drive will help me in keeping my moral compass true north, and each choice I make will continue to define who I am. That is all I can hope for, because hey, I'm only human.

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