HERO explores commitment to an ideal. It asks the question: What endeavor would you undertake knowing full well that the odds are you will fail? What would you give your all to knowing it’s likely you will be severely injured or even die trying? What is the greatest possible reward and in that thought, what is the most valuable and priceless thing on earth?
Paul and Chrissie are a young couple, in their twenties, and have started a new family. …rest of story below video.
Story as told by Chrissie
I’ll never forget that day…It plays like a movie in my mind, over and over. My Husband, Paul, didn’t even eat breakfast that day. He was so excited, he wanted to get to the fire station early. It was his first week on the job.
Paul headed for the door, but realized he had forgotten something important to him…Jessie, our adorable three year old. She came running across the floor and jumped up in his arms…when Paul told her that he loved her, Jessie’s face lit up with a big smile, and in her tiny voice she said, “ Daddy, will you play with me when you get home?” Paul smiled and said, “Of Course, Jessie… you are why I do what I do!”
And then Jessie said, “ Daddy, you’re my big HERO…be careful, Daddy.”
I hated that we both had to work, but I was glad that Jessie could go to Gayle’s apartment, to play with her daughter, Jen. When we got there Jessie and Jen started playing with dolls right away and chattering about one thing and than another, and I heard Jen say, that her Dad worked up in the clouds in the tallest office building.
Then on my way out the door, I heard Jessie say tell Jen, that her Daddy is a Fireman. She sounded so proud. I left feeling happy and proud of both Jessie and Paul.
I didn’t know that day would change my life….forever!
Gayle told me that Jessie got up to go to the bathroom. Right after she closed the door, there was a huge explosion. Gayle said the apartment filled with smoke. Without even thinking, she grabbed Jen and ran out.
She said she frantically found the Fire Chief and told him that there was another little girl trapped in the bathroom, up in her apartment. She told me, she didn’t know what to do as the Chief told her there was no way that he could send any more men into that collapsing, old building as it was too far gone.
They had also lost two Firefighters in the blaze. Then, Gayle heard Paul’s voice on the radio, saying he was on the second floor. The Chief told Paul, to “GET OUT! that he had his own family to think about.”
Paul’s voice came back on the radio and said, “I won’t leave, until I know everyone else is safe.” He said he heard about the little girl trapped in one of the apartments.
Little did he know! Gayle said that the Fire Chief was yelling at Paul through the radio….”Are you insane?!” “Get out of there before the building collapses!” Paul refused.
When I got to the apartment building, I didn’t see Jessie anywhere and just went crazy! I started screaming for her, and I swear I was going to go in there and get her myself.
The Chief had to hold me back to stop me. When he realized who I was, he told me, that Paul was already there, but when I asked them if they are ok, he just looked at me.
I screamed at him to HELP them! Then I heard Paul’s voice on the radio. It was broken up. He had made it to the fourth floor but he said it was really bad. He said he couldn’t come back the way that he went in. He said that he was going to get the “child” and get to a window.
He told the Chief, “you’d better call my Wife”. Tell Chrissie, “I love her” and tell her to take good care of Jessie…..and the radio went dead.
I SCREAMED! All I could do was scream, Paul, IT’S JESSIE!!!! IT’S JESSIE!!!! OH MY GOD, HE DOESN’T KNOW!!!
In my heart, I imagined him finding her, and at least for a moment, everything was ok. There was another HUGE EXPLOSION! The ground shook and fire blew out the windows on the fourth floor.
I just fell to my knees……NO!!!!! I felt like someone just punched me in the stomach. I was shaking, delirious what had just happened. I started thinking, “Oh my God, my life is over”. Did I say the right things? Did I do the right things? Did I tell them, that I love them? The Chief started to tell me, what a HERO, Paul was and that he went in there with good reason that day… no matter what! Then, all of a sudden….. there they were, JUMPING from the fourth floor window!
It was like a dream. There was Paul, hanging onto Jessie, with her arms wrapped around his neck. They fell right into the net.
I just stared at them. I couldn’t believe it! Paul stood still, holding Jessie. His head was bowed as he said, a prayer of thanks. Jessie was hugging him, her head turned back with tear filled eyes, watching as the building collapsed.
Later she said, ‘Mommy, I wasn’t scared. I knew Daddy would come, because he’s my HERO… isn’t he?”
I’ll never forget that day. The terror I felt and the amazing faith my little Jessie had, in a HERO, she calls, “Daddy”. “Yes, baby, he’s our HERO.”