NFTA Transporter

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

For Chief Morris

In memory of Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Chief Michael Morris (Ret.) we are posting a letter from Captain William Major's 16-year-old daughter Morgan, written as a tribute to the Chief.


If you’re reading this, then you probably already know that Chief Michael Morris passed away last night. As I have not seen him in quite some time, my memory of him is vague and elusive. His mark on my parents, however, is still as fresh as the day it was made, which my mom reminds me often was sometime during 1994.

Speaking of my mom, she is heartbroken. I long to help her, to do anything that will make her smile in the beautiful way she does once more. But the question presents itself quickly: How do you help someone struggling with grief?

I have read on numerous occasions, though I can’t recall where at this moment, that the actual problem is not the problem itself, but the way one perceives it. And I, as inexperienced as I am in this alley of life, understand that death is hard to think about like this. When someone leaves us, our first response is not joy, but sorrow. Of course it is. Memories now permanently unreachable swarm our minds and the question “Is there something I could have done?” stands like a boulder in our way. It is difficult to even entertain the idea that there might be a different way of looking at the situation.

With that said, although it is most certainly not my place, I am going to ask you to try and do this. Focus your energy on moving the boulder. If you’ve gotten this far, that request may have sent you into a confused fury. How insensitive can someone be, asking me to be happy at a time like this? I deeply apologize, but I ask you to bear with me for a moment longer. As I sat and talked to my dad last night, we talked about what it really means to be a firefighter. Being a firefighter is not just being the first to run into a burning building. In order to be a firefighter, you must have a heart as strong as it is big. Just like my longing to help my mom, firefighters long to make a difference in the world. A firefighter, especially a volunteer, is the least selfish person you could ever find. It is often overlooked just how much it takes to be this person. There are few people out there who are so special that they would put their life on hold (and at risk) in the middle of anything to go out and help a random stranger they may never see again. And yet this was exactly the type of person Chief Morris was. He had his ups and downs. Everyone does. But at the end of the day he was one of the most selfless, brave, and compassionate people I could ever have even dreamt of meeting. It was an honor to know him, and I’m sure anyone who shared the same pleasure as my family and I would agree. And so this, this unbelievable story that he has written for both himself and everyone around him is what I ask you to focus on.

Because I promise you, this firefighters flame is one that cannot be extinguished.