When you're a fire service instructor doing a practical exam, you see all kinds of peculiar things. For instance, two students walk to my hazmat skill station. They have all their gear on. They are carrying their tools. But wait. What is that? I've been in the fire service 16 years and have never seen a tool like this. Picture this: A red, wooden, board. It's flat and is about as long as a typical ax or pro bar. One side had a handle carved into. The other side, metal reinforcement attached with screws. Have you ever seen someone coming towards you and said to yourself, "Here comes the funny story!" I waited patiently to hear the "what had happened" start for this odd invention.
"It's the Taciboard!" "The what!?" I say. The student (we'll call him Fred D. Firefighter) goes on to explain that early on in recruit class, he left his tool behind during training. To assist Fred in remembering the importance of carrying his tool, the instructors gave him a board to carry everywhere. It was simply a plank of a dingy, wooden pallet. Fred took it upon himself to do more with it. That's when he came up with this unique, versatile tool. He listed more uses for this thing than I can recite.
When's the last time you owned a mistake you've made? When is the last time you've seen the opportunity in your challenge? Most people would have seen carrying this board as just an ordinary recruit school punishment. Instead, Fred made an extraordinary new tool based on a new challenge. You don't have to be a teacher to provide a worthwhile lesson. In this case, here's Fred’s lesson for us: Life's challenges give you a chance to find opportunity. Ordinary people do extraordinary things.
About the Author
NICK BASKERVILLE has had the honor of serving in the United States Air Force for 10 years, followed by 4 years in the United States Air Force Reserves. He attained the rank of Technical Sergeant (E-6). Nick also has 16 years of fire service time, with 13 years of that being in a career department in Northern Virginia. Nick has had the opportunity to hold positions in the Company Officer's section of the Virginia Fire Chief's Association (VFCA), The Virginia Fire Officer's Academy (VFOA) staff, and in the International Association of Black Professional Fire Fighters (IABPFF) as a chapter president, a Health and Wellness committee member, and one of the IABPFF representatives to the Fire Service Occupational Cancer Alliance.