Category Archives: Firefighter Testimonies

Out of the Flames-Jarret Keith Testimonial

We thank our brother Jarret Keith for courageously sharing his testimony with all of us. Read on for encouragement:

There have been some recent occurrences that have changed my life and I feel the need to share it with all of you. I have recently decided to accept Jesus into my heart again. I accepted him into my heart before and strayed away from the word of God. But this past Friday I was at work at the Fire Dept. Several things occurred that day that really made me mad, upset me, and disgusted me.

That night A broadcast network called CBN happened to be on, so I watched. During the show they talked about several different things, those things they talked about just happened to be everything that happened that day….that’s not coincidence! The Lord reached out grabbed me and shook me through that show.

At the end of the show, the host made this comment, “If there is anyone that doesn’t know Jesus or knows him but needs to let him back into their hearts, please pray with me now and repeat after me.” I did, and it felt like the whole world lifted off my shoulders! I let him back in! (This is the part that gets interesting.) As I said earlier I have asked him to come into my heart before, done right for a little while, then I would get back on the same path I’d been on. (And no not drugs, just attitude, temper, my mouth and not following God and doing what he expects of me.)

This past Monday, I was on shift at the Fire Dept around 1:10 in the afternoon on Monday we were toned out to a structure fire. We arrived on scene and from the outside looked like we could go inside, make a good interior attack and knock it down. Myself and my Lt. put our air packs on and stretched a line to the door and popped the door open. As the door swung open black smoke that banked all the way to the floor started flowing out. As I made entry into the house on the nozzle, I got about half way across the living room and something wasn’t right, it was just too hot, my instincts were telling me to get out (or was it my instincts? Could it have been something or someone else.) I told my Lt. to back out, something wasn’t right and it was too hot. As I came out of the door we sat and watched the smoke for a few seconds to come up with a new game plan.

All of a sudden, about 20 seconds after we backed out a flash-over occurred. the Fire came towards the door and rolled right over the top of mine and my Lt’s head. Jesus had surrounded us with his loving arms and shielded us from that flash-over. Also where the fire was at in that house would have taken us about that long if not a little longer to get to it. If we had kept going and not backed out I would probably not be writing this post right now. We would have been caught right in the middle of the flash-over. Myself and my Lt. are blessed we did not keep going. I firmly believe that what happened Monday was the Lord giving me an example. I feel with all my heart that when that happened he was telling me, “This is why you need me, this is what I can do for you, this is how I can protect you, this is why you do not need to stray away from me again.” I firmly believe he reached out to me on that Friday through the host of a Christian network and then Monday showed me why I need him in my life and my heart through that fire when the flash-over occurred. God gave me another chance and this is where my new life begins!

If this story has inspired you and you would like to know more about how to receive Christ as your savior email us at bringingbackbrotherhood@gmail.com

God Bless,

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

Beauty out of the Ashes:

Not too long ago, I had fallen victim to the poison of bitterness and even considered leaving the fire department. I would often ask “Does my service even matter anymore?” I heard a man speak by the name of Rick Lasky on Pride and Ownership. It was as if God told him to speak directly to me. I felt renewed and energized, but sadly I fell down again. It was not until one day in church when I cried out to God that I received my answer.

You see, I was relying on my own power and my own ability to sustain my calling. I wanted so bad to make a difference that it drove me over the edge when I failed. I felt that I no longer made a difference until I noticed some of my brothers around me struggling. Then I saw difficulty become opportunity. I learned that the fire service is not a spiritual detriment but a spiritual opportunity!

My friends, I want you to know this: You make a difference every day!

Remember these words and think on them the next time you feel the pain of bitterness:

Every day that you decide to smile in the face of adversity you will unknowingly lift someone else’s spirit.

Every day you choose to serve the impoverished, the addict, the homeless with compassion and love you make a difference.

Every day you choose to do the hard work of being honest instead of taking the easy way out you have sown a seed in another’s heart of what integrity truly means.

Every day that you work out instead of lying on the couch and complaining you set the example.

Every day that you read, train, and mentor others you make an impact on their future for the moment and for their lifetime.

Every day that you bow your head and pray you show others that your allegiance goes to a higher calling than any badge can bestow.

Every day that you take the time to listen to your brother/sister, who is struggling, you show what it truly means to “carry each other’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2a). Every day that you refuse to fall victim to bitterness you will lead without even knowing.

Do not underestimate the power of your influence, your encouragement, and your compassion for others. When the world tells you that you can’t make a difference pick up a Bible and read. Read about all the men and women who faced insurmountable circumstances but God showed his mighty power through them. Read about Paul (a mentor), Barnabus (an encourager), and Timothy (a disciple). Surround yourself with individuals like these.

Read about Jesus and how he loved in spite of circumstances and how he led in the face of adversity. Read about how He prayed with great anguish when he was dismayed. Read and see how He had compassion on the sick, the imprisoned, the homeless, the widow, and the orphan. Read about how He did all of this not for the world’s recognition but out of God’s great love for you.

If you want to make a difference, if you want to renew your passion, and if you want to truly help others; welcome back to your calling. Call upon God. He will give you the strength that you desire. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

And let your profession be your pulpit as “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:14)

Pick up your armor and let God renew your spirit for He has predestined you for good works. Let us set the example by stepping forward and doing the work we were created to do.

God Bless you,

Andy J. Starnes

Fighting the Devil Within by Don Prince

We thank our brother for his bravery in sharing the following story. We hope that you are encouraged by his words…

None of us ever wants to admit defeat. It is not in our nature. What makes it even more difficult for people like us is what we do. We are the ones going in, giving aid, support, sacrifices and sometimes even our lives in order to save others. We are supposed to be the invincible ones and for the most part we are. But ultimately we are all human; we act and react differently to situations both in and out of the “job”.

Pressure, stress and pain are pretty much unavoidable in all forms; both physical and mental or a combination of any of them. How each one of us deals with these stresses; such as self-medicating and isolating, is what se
parates us from our families, loved ones and careers.

Since most of you don’t know me here’s a brief history. Some of you might be able to relate to my story or know somebody who can. I grew up in a middle class home on Long Island, attended good schools, and was active in my community and successful in my career. I was also a functioning alcoholic for 30 years of that. In my mind nobody knew about my drinking and I was great at hiding it, or so I thought (like by drinking vodka so nobody would smell it on my breath). What a fool. The talk behind my back was always there from my family, co-workers, friends and ultimately of course, the guys at the firehouse. I choose to believe that nobody would suspect me to be a drunk. I was, after all a Firefighter, Station Lieutenant, Assistant Chief and then Chief of Department and we are all supposed to know better than to drink on the job or anytime else that it isn’t appropriate.

The addiction and the progression of the disease brings all things to an end sooner or later and more times than not it’s a bitter end. Things like marriages, families, jobs, friendships and, ultimately for me my fire service career, are lost or at least strained to breaking points.

Having been asked to resign after 17 years of service because of my addiction and lack of desire to get help I continued to drink and it progressed to the point of me going to detox and treatment for the first time. I was not successful with my sobriety after my 28 days there as I was still not ready or willing to accept that I simply could not drink like other people and I relapsed. I was then in a drunken fog for over two years and completely miserable. After two very dark years in my life that included detoxes, seizures, hospital stays, legal issues and living as a non-person, I was finally able to see that if I continued on this path of destruction I was going to die. Alcohol had defeated me and I had to admit to that.

I finally reached out for help and got into a residential treatment facility and did six months inpatient treatment for which I completed successfully and have not found it necessary to drink since July 13th, 2011. It’s an amazing feeling of freedom and spirituality that I have never felt before in my life.

One of the biggest things I could not let go of was my embarrassment, disappointment in myself and shame of having to resign my position as Chief and my membership after almost 17 years of being a part of something that meant so much to me and for which I was not willing or able to make a choice to correct in order to try and save. Drinking was more important than my career and family at that time. I now see that if I had addressed my addiction years ago and sought the help that was offered to me none of this would have happened. But it is my story and I can’t change that. What I can do is share my message to others and hopefully reach as many people as I can and get them the help they deserve. It doesn’t have to be this way for anybody else who has an obsession to drink or drug like I did. There is no time like the present to make a change in your life.

There is nothing more rewarding than hearing the words of encouragement and support from the people in your life about how you turned your life around and that they want nothing but the best for you and your future; a majority of whom where the ones talking about how much of a loser you were not so long ago.

Help is available today to just about anybody who truly wants to start their lives over again or can see a pattern forming and want to get help before things progress. Addiction crosses all lines and genders. It also can affect our loved ones as well. Taking the first step isn’t as hard as you think and the rewards are priceless.

I am an Ex-Chief of the Brookhaven FD, LI, and NY and served 16 years with the department. I served as Station Lieutenant, First and Second Assistant Chief. I was also a member of Shirley Community Ambulance. Since moving to South Florida I now work with some of the leading addiction treatment facilities specializing in first responder treatment as well as help others get help with addiction throughout the country. I can be reached at 561-282-8685(c) anytime day or night.

#Firefighter Testimonies-The Power of Your Story:

Have you ever noticed that when a teacher uses a story (an experience from their life) that the material they are presenting becomes more relevant?

The student or audience becomes more engaged especially when the story relates to their background, their culture, and their area of expertise.

In the Bible, Jesus taught using parables. A parable is a comparison, illustration, or a juxtaposition. Jesus applied scripture to a story that drove home the point.

This method of teaching preserved the interest of the hearer until the spiritual application could be made.

Jesus said “This is why I speak to them in parables:‘Though seeing, they do not see;though hearing, they do not hear or understand.” Matthew 13:13

As firefighters, we seem to be born story tellers. We fellowship together and remember our experiences through the power of story telling. By telling our stories others can better understand what we are trying to convey.

Consider this:

What if someone heard your personal story?

What if someone is struggling with the same burdens we have already faced in our lives?

What if they believe their is no hope and they have given up on life?

What if by reading or hearing our personal story they would be encouraged by it?

Bringing Back Brotherhood is seeking firefighters who feel led to share their stories.

God has places others in our lives for divine purposes and we are to minister to one another.

We are praying that a few of you would be willing to email us your testimony so it can be shared with the world.

If you feel led to so or you have faced great adversity in your life: don’t waste it! Share it!

Consider this:

The Dead Sea is dead because a mighty river flows into it but nothing flows out of it.

If we allow life and our experiences to be absorbed they can become a cancer to our soul. But, if we would step out in bravery to share our Firefighter testimony we can help others, ease our own burdens, and bring hope to those in dark places.

And after all, isn’t that what being a firefighter is all about: Helping others? We can share a page of the book of our lives and know that God’s word says:

“You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book” Psalm 56:8

God knows our pain and what we have been through, yet we stand today as living proof that He has brought us through the fires of life.

Why not share your story of hope and encouragement with others?

If you are ready to encourage others with your story Email us at: BringingBackBrotherhood@gmail.com

God Bless You All!

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries