Mayor given the chance to rise above it all


Rise above can be more than just a figure of speech.

The Seymour Fire Department gave me a chance to rise above with a trip up Ladder 1, and recently, I was reminded that keeping a positive attitude goes a long way. I can’t control how things are presented, but I can control my reaction, and I try to keep it as positive as possible when I do. Thank you for joining me again for a recap of the last few days.

It has become a tradition for the mayor to deliver the State of the City to the Rotary Club. Usually, it is shortly after it is delivered to the public and council, but this year, it took place this week via a Zoom meeting. The nice thing is I have had enough time with the different meeting formats that I had no problem sharing my slideshow from the original, and it gave me a chance to update slight changes due to the last several months of COVID-19-related shifts.

Freeman Municipal Airport has big things on the horizon, and the airport authority is working to keep it moving in a positive direction. With 16 agenda items, it would be easy to write an entire update just on one meeting. A couple of large projects with Taxiway C and Runway 5-23 will start soon and may already be leading to some future expansion. During the meeting, they reported that two different groups are exploring options to add hangars to the airport. Throw in reports on fuel sales and claims and you have an airport authority meeting under your belt.

The Seymour Fire Department B shift was kind enough to allow me to join them for my weekly visit with a department. I have had a chance to visit with all three shifts at the department now and have managed to learn something from each.

B shift decided I should experience Ladder 1 in all its glory. We headed out and set the truck up. I learned training-wise, they usually do 60 to 65 degrees, and after sending it to the full 100-foot length, I had a chance to climb and climb and climb some more.

I learned the first stop on the hiring process is to climb Ladder 1 before all other physical tests. I am not shocked they often get a few that look up and realize being a firefighter might not be for them.

The ladder extends with three sections, and the first section really doesn’t feel bad at all. While in it, you have a little more room around you, and the truck is still pretty much visible below. Somewhere in this section, though, was when fireman Murphy stopped to let me know I can grab the rungs or get a better grip by grabbing the gussets on each rung.

I believe his exact finish to the statement was “Just in case you slip and fall.”

Section 2 gets a little tighter, and you can see around a little more clearly. Still not bad at all. The third section was when it got clearer. Now, the sides of the ladder feel like they are just to your sides, and you can see the ground below or sky depending on which way you tilt your head.

This was the moment things got a little tougher mentally. I managed to not look all the way to the basket until I was about 10 rungs from the top. The tough part is yet to come. The last two or three rungs over the edge to the basket loses the sides, and you crawl into the basket.

While in the basket, Murphy asked if I wanted to climb back down or just ride down in the basket. I chose the ride mostly due to the thought of having to crawl back across the last couple of rungs. After getting back to the station, I was headed out and the tones went off for a fire.

I can understand completely how the sounds lead to a quick pump of adrenaline and could even be addictive. After jumping in the back seat of Engine 1, we headed down Walnut Street toward Freeman Field. I promise you our fire, police and EMS are not out for a drive with lights and sirens for no reason. If you hear or see them with them on, pull over. Where they are headed might not be important to you, but it is to someone.

Now, you have another glimpse into the world of serving as mayor of our small town. I get asked if serving as mayor is everything I expected.

I would like to share this quote from Tony Robbins: “Trade your expectations for appreciation and the world changes instantly.” I have traded any expectations I had for the appreciation that you allow me to serve, and that is what makes it easy for me to see Seymour in ways I never knew possible.

Until next time, thank you.

Matt Nicholson is the mayor of Seymour. Send comments to [email protected].

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