Madison Vines reads some of her poetry at the NEA Big Read Poetry Slam held at the Gathering Grounds on December 17. Photo by Marion Vendituoli


By Madison Vines

Badge #423, #475, #459, and #433. 

There has been more loss in my community than I ever

thought I would experience as a young person, 

especially in the fire department that my whole family is involved in. 

One of the hardest things that I have gone through is losing people that I have known my whole life from being around the fire department since I was younger, 

and listening to last calls also known as bell services or Final Alarm. 

“Patagonia 450… firefighter 433… Bowdon 433… 

This is the last call for 433 as we call him home 

after 33 years of service to the Patagonia Volunteer Fire Department, 

a navy veteran, firefighter, loving father, husband, and brother. 

You sure will be missed. 

September 8th, 2018, we have laid Badge #433 to rest.” 

At the time I was 14, and I don’t exactly remember how it went, because they were all different one way or another. 

I have been to four different services for fallen firefighters and they are all hard, but this one was different. 

This was my father figure, the person I considered my father. 

That day, September 8th, 2018, I realized how many people he had touched throughout his life 

and how many people he had made an impact on. 

That is a day I will never forget. 

Badge #433