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CFD Firefighter's daughter - not just her dad, also her hero

Michael Delong is a Carmel Fire Fighter. Here is a recent email sent out by Delong showing pride in his daughter for her pride in him shown in a winning scholarship essay awarded by Hill & Associates, P.C.

"I wanted to share this with everyone. This is a short essay that Mackenzie wrote for a scholarship. I think it really put into perspective what our kids think of our career. She did give me permission to share this with everyone.

She did win the scholarship from Hill & Associates, P.C. Here is the facebook page announcing her award if anyone is interested -"

Growing up, I believed that it was normal for your dad not to be home every night. I

thought it was normal to celebrate Christmas a couple days early because Dad had to work.

Normal, for Dad to be gone at days at a time because he had overtime or worked late for

someone. Growing up this was the life I knew, but now I realize that my dad made the sacrifices he did because he was passionate about helping others.

My dad has been a firefighter since I was born, and I can’t imagine my life being any other way. Having a parent who is a first responder has made me realize that sometimes sacrifices must be made in order to help others, and that you never know how much time you have with the ones you love.

A parent never wants to miss out on part of their child’s life. My dad tried his hardest to

come to all of my soccer games and all of the important school events. However, sometimes he just couldn’t make it happen. I always wished that my dad could watch me play because I felt comfort in knowing he was in the stands, but I now know that there are some things more

important than a young girl’s soccer game.

I remember one night my mom had some neighbors over for dinner and my dad was at the station; his days were usually very uneventful with false alarms and small ambulance runs. However, on this particular day my mom turned on the news and a large apartment complex showed on the screen engulfed in flames. As naive as I was at this age, every time I saw a fireman on TV I always asked if it was my dad and my mom always answered with no, but that day the answer was different.

As I watched the apartment building continue to be demolished by angry flames I realized why my dad did what he did. Why he missed games or school plays, or swim lessons. He sacrificed his time with his family to save other families. We watched the fire all night praying that each tenant would be unharmed and that my dad would make it back home the next morning.

This past year a fellow firefighter lost his life to cancer. This was ruled as an on the job

death because doctors had decided that his job was the cause of this fatal disease. This fireman, by the name Mark Robinson, left behind 3 kids and a wife. He made the ultimate sacrifice, he may not have died in a physical fire, but it was the hazardous job that led to the cancer that inevitably took his life.

When my dad first told me about the passing of Mark I immediately empathized with the kids. I knew what it felt like to have a Dad as a first responder and I couldn’t imagine if a job that helped so many others took away one of the most important things to me. No one can prepare someone for something like that and no one can be blamed. Some people are called to help others even if it means they could be putting themselves at risk. I realized that my dad isn’t just at risk when he is inside a burning building, but also the dangerous long-term effects of his job.

Not having my dad home all the time and with the constant worry of the stress and effects of the job I have learned to truly cherish all of my moments with not only him, but everyone else in my life as well. You sincerely don’t know how much time you have with the ones you love.

I am incredibly grateful to have the Dad that I have. He has taught me to live each

moment fully and that helping others should always be a priority. My dad has pushed me each

and every day to be the best version of myself and I am eternally appreciative of his constant

encouraging words. I would not be where I am today without my dad. While he may be a hero in other people’s eyes for his line work, he is my hero because of the father that he is and the

sacrifices he continues to make each and every day.

Hill & Associates, P.C. supports the hard work put forth, sacrifices made, and acts of selflessness displayed by first responders on a daily basis. However, much of their dedication to keeping our communities safe happens behind the scenes and can go unnoticed. With this in mind, Hill & Associates offers a $1,500 scholarship for college-bound or current college students who are children of first responders as a way to show their support and sincere gratitude for their parents’ services.

Applicants are required to write a 500+ word essay sharing their story by answering the prompt:

  • How has being a child of a first responder impacted your life for the better (i.e. how has it influenced who you are, how you grew up, the decisions you’ve made, etc.)?

The scholarship is awarded to the student who best demonstrates how being a child of a first responder has positively affected his/her life. The scholarship funds can be applied towards any school-related costs, such as tuition, boarding, school supplies, or books.

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