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My Life After Firefighting

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb
The Truth Network Radio
February 16, 2023 3:00 am

My Life After Firefighting

Our American Stories / Lee Habeeb

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February 16, 2023 3:00 am

On this episode of Our American Stories, James, a retired fire captain, shares his story of firefighting and the emotions that come along with it. 

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What up, it's dramas from the Life as a Gringo podcast.

We are back with a brand new season. Now Life as a Gringo speaks to Latinos who are born or raised here in the States. It's about educating and breaking those generational curses that man have been holding us back for far too long. I'm here to discuss the topics that are relevant to all of us and to define what it means to live as our true authentic self.

Listen to Life as a Gringo on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there. So you're in the garage working on your car and you need the valves you bought last week. You look in the cabinets and on the shelves.

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Find parts for everything from your classic coupe to your brand new truck at Let's ride. This is Lee Habib and this is Our American Stories and we tell stories about everything including your stories. Send them to That's They're some of our favorites. And by the way, as you know, we are a nonprofit and what we do, well, it's free to listen to, but it is not free to make.

And if you love the stories we're telling, go to, click the donate button, and do what you can to help us out. Today you're going to hear from James Pritchard, a retired fire captain right here in Oxford, Mississippi, where we broadcast. James is going to share with us the realities of working in the fire service and how pushing down your emotions catches up with you in the long run. I guess I kind of always wanted to be a firefighter.

I think that's why God put me here. But beforehand, I was just a kid. I was working with the city electric department, actually. And I was in a bucket truck right across from the fire department working with hot power lines. And I let one of the wires go and it blew a fuse and it pow. And I hunkered down in the bottom of the bucket and I got out of the bucket and I walked across the street and I said, Chief, I'm coming to work.

I said, this is it. I knew the fire chief well, and he liked me a lot. And it worked out where the next hiring cycle, that's where I went. I was just excited and I was ready to go. And that's what I wanted to do. I was a volunteer firefighter for about three years before I actually became a career firefighter.

So I kind of knew what the process was. There was a lot of physical pain. But other than that, besides being away from my wife and my little boy, it was fun.

Especially looking back, especially looking back, learning how to repel off the side of a building. At the start of my career, I was there for 24 hours and I was off for 48 hours, which worked pretty good for me. But at the end of my career, we worked 48 hours on and four days off. So I was at the fire station for two days. I was at home for four days. But being away for 48 hours, you just miss so much.

My little girl barrel races. So it was, you know, I'd miss a whole weekend of that or ball tournaments or just being home because I'm a homebody. My family means everything to me. But the hardest part was absolutely the car wrecks. Car wrecks.

Dealing with death in general. But when you when you got to a house fire, if somebody was in that house fire and we couldn't find them right off the bat, we knew they were gone. But when you got to a car wreck, lots of times they were alive. But there really wasn't much you could do to to help them, no matter how fast we got them out. We knew they they likely weren't going to weren't going to pull through lots of times, you know, it was hard.

Everything built up little by little by little by little. I was going strong and then I was broken and I didn't know why. But it was it was pretty obvious to everybody around me why, especially my wife. You know, I did pretty good at hiding it from my kids, but I couldn't hide it when I was asleep.

I would wake up swinging and kicking and punching and screaming and actually hit my wife while I was asleep several times. And it just was hard. And I still have nightmares. You know, I try to avoid places, scenes where hard things happen. I try not to go by those places. But sometimes I can't go by those places. But sometimes I can't. And, you know, I'm probably going to cry today.

But that's all right. I've got a great wife. She's been my rock through all of this. And not being afraid to ask for help has been very important for me also. And I don't guess we realize a lot of times our purpose until we get into it.

And I don't know that we even realized that first one or two or three steps. I actually got hurt during a training exercise and had one back surgery and then I went back to work. And then I had another back surgery. And after that, they said I couldn't go back. So I didn't get my last ride. I didn't get to finish the way I wanted to finish.

But God had a plan with that, too. He knew that I was done. He knew that I was finished. He knew that I was done. He knew that I was finished. I was so tired and I needed to stop and I needed to reflect and I needed to get better mentally and physically. That's what I've been working on ever since. I feel like God put me here for that purpose. I got to help a lot of people. But talking to somebody doesn't mean you're not tough. Let it out.

Don't let it build up. I never looked at the fire service as a way to be a hero or get recognition because that's not what it's about. But there's a lot of special people up there doing it right now. And a beautiful job by Madison on the production. And a special thanks to James Pritchard, a retired captain of Oxford's fire department.

And a special thanks to all the guys and gals who do this kind of work. And that's the cops, the firemen, the EMT, and even people in some emergency room situations. It is little bit by little bit seeing the world at its worst, near death sequences, and sometimes not being able to help.

Sometimes blaming yourself, the flashbacks, the nightmares. My goodness, I got to help a lot of people. You sure did. And now, now James is helping himself and God did have a plan.

And it was time for James to be with his family and find peace. James Pritchard's story, an Oxford, Mississippi story, our hometown here on Now American Stories. Folks, if you love the stories we tell about this great country and especially the stories of America's rich past, know that all of our stories about American history, from war to innovation, culture, and faith are brought to us by the great folks at Hillsdale College, a place where students study all the things that are beautiful in life and all the things that are good in life. And if you can't get to Hillsdale, Hillsdale will come to you with their free and terrific online courses. Go to to learn more.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-19 15:10:41 / 2023-02-19 15:14:11 / 4

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