Monday, April 27, 2009

One of the VERY BEST...

I was fortunate to have worked with Mike Finer for a couple years when I was in 43 Engine and he was in Ladder 59, both housed in the same South Bronx firehouse.

I was even more fortunate to have run into him again and to have worked with him in Ladder 44, when he came over as a Lieutenant. I worked with him in Ladder 44 from around 1995, when he came to that firehouse until around 2005, when we both left, he to Marine-1 and I to Hazmat-1.

Mike retired recently, not long after pulling a suicidal woman out of the Hudson River last September.

This past Wednesday (April 22, 2009) Mike Finer, (58 y/o) was driving along the span of the George Washington Bridge en route to Kevin Flannagan's awards banquet, when he saw a man climb onto the outer railing of the bridge, he told the NY Daily News.

"He was over the railing, holding on with one arm, it was precarious. He was ready to go," Mike Finer told the New York Daily News.

According to the Daily News account, “Finer pulled over and ran toward the man, dodging rush-hour traffic on the busy bridge.

"I just said, 'Let me see what I can do to help,'" recalled Finer, who spent 30 years with the FDNY after working for the NYPD for five before that...

"...No one wants to see you do this," Finer recalled telling the man, who gave his name as Lloyd.

“Ignoring a Port Authority police officer who warned him to back off, Finer told Lloyd that the fall might not kill him - a notion that gave the suicidal man pause.

“Eventually, Finer coaxed Lloyd into climbing back up to safety.”

You can read the full story here;

I’ve been lucky to meet a LOT of really great guys over the years in the FDNY and Mike Finer is one of my all-time favorite people. Not only was he an excellent fireman and fire officer, he was a GREAT teacher, always sharing his broad range of knowledge with others. And Mike fought for his principles as well.

Recently, when the City paid all HazMat specialty Units 12% more for the added education and responsibilities, while conspicuously eliminating the Marine Units from that group, Mike fought the City and the FDNY in arbitration and the courts for the Marine Units and he did this, while seeking a spot as an officer in a Squad or Rescue Unit, before his career-ending injury. Mike’s fight was and IS for fairness, as the Marine Units are HazMat trained and they obviously take on those responsibilities. Both the City of New York and the FDNY have acknowledged that “EVERY shipboard incident is a HazMat incident.”

Mike Finer’s ALWAYS been one of the BEST, so it’s not surprising that he’d rise to the occasion even when officially “retired” and on his way to an important event. I can personally attest that anyone whose life has been touched by Mike Finer has been a LOT better off for that.

When New Yorkers count their blessing, they should count people like Mike Finer among them – they’re few and far between.


Clifton B said...

Hey JMK;
Thanks for sharing this story about Mike Finer. Reading the story I instantly thought of how this nation was designed for the Mike Finers of the world. People who use their freedoms to take the initiative to produce beneficial results for all.

We sorely need more Mike Finers today.

Rachel said...

Y'all have a good fire department team, JMK. Hopefully, we will have more Mike Finers in the world as the stories are told. I think there are quite a few, but the actions are so small, so everyday we do not appreciate it.
I'm from the South and while I am not familiar with Yankee courtesy, I am very thankful that people open doors for others, help out in emergencies (like if someone fell, etc). Not everyone does it, but enough to let me know there is kindness around.

Seane-Anna said...

He's cute!

JMK said...

Mike is definitely an exceptional person Clifton....he's faced a lot of adversity in the years I worked with him and handled all of it in the most admirable way.

Mike stands out among a loooong list of "great guys" (guys I've been fortunate and privileged to have known and worked with) in large measure because of the way he dealt with adversity.

Peronally, I think they're are many more "Mike Finers" (people possessed of great character and enormous personal integrity), but you're right, that while America WAS designed to encourage and reward those kinds of people, too often today, such folks are discouraged from "acting too boldly", from "being too much of an individual".

Mike has always been "a character", which in the FDNY has always meant a "free spirit" a true individualist. Mike never worried about what others thought of him, he seemed to only care about what he thought of himself. That kind of individualism is certainly out of vogue among many people today.

And that didn't just start with the Obama administration!

Conservatives have to be honest and acknowledge that there've been enemies of Conservatism, Liberty and traditional American values in BOTH Parties....and there've been friends in both Parties as well.

Herbert Hoover (the first U.S. President to govern under the mantle of "progressivism"), Richard M. Nixon ("We are ALL Keynesians now"), George Bush Sr. and G W Bush, along with the likes of John McCain, Arlen Specter, Bob Dole, Christie Whitman and many other "Moderate Republicans" have all stood squarely IN FAVOR of Keynesian (central planning) and AGAINST economic and individual LIBERTY and the "invisble hand" of the Free Market.

Yes, the Obama administration is going FURTHER Left on the SAME foundation G W Bush built, just as Jimmy Carter moved further LEFT on the foundation that both LBJ & Richard Nixon built, but we must recognize and vigorously oppose the enemies of individualism wherever they spring from.

I know you do, but many Conservatives DON'T.

JMK said...

No question Rachel and it's important to recognize the good whenever we see it, otherwise it's easy to fall into cynicism and become jaded.

How many other people simply drove by that guy on the bridge?

How many more would've backed off when the Port Authority police threatened them with arrest, as Mike Finer was?

That's the kind of guy Mike has always been, sticking his neck out for others, even, on occassion, those who didn't warrant it. Sometimes that's been viewed as "an error in judgment", but it's NOT. Mike has always truly cared about others in trouble, whether that trouble is due to forces outside their control, an auto accident or fire, or of their own making.

And he's had both the courage and the passion to fight unpopular causes and take on City Hall.

When he spear-headed the Marine Unit's getting the HazMat pay they deserve, he didn't do that out of a drive for personal enrichment. He was already looking to move on from that Unit to a Squad or Rescue Company...and yet, he through himself into that fight 110%...because he believed that it was right.

I think there are indeed other Mike Finers around and many more people who'd WANT to be like that, but lack merely the intensity and personal fortitude to follow through as he does.

JMK said...

"He's cute!" (Seane-Anna)
Hi Seane-Anna!

And he's among the VERY BEST guy's I've ever known.

Uncle Joe said...

My Dad was a firefighter, so I have met a lot of them along with EMTs, etc. Most of them I know are good people with lots of backbone and self reliance. The country owes a lot to people like Mike Finer. Too bad most people don't know it.

Roadhouse said...

To demonstrate the vast difference between someone like Mike Finer and myself, I probably wouldn't have the cojones to drive across that bridge, let alone stop, get out, and try to talk someone down from it (I'm deathly afraid of heights).
You firefighter types are given far less credit than what you're due.

I've driven just about every type of truck out there, and I hope to add "firetruck" to the list someday.

JMK said...

"The country owes a lot to people like Mike Finer. Too bad most people don't know it." (UJ)
I think some of that is deliberate UJ.

The MSM is decidedly Left-wing and prefers stories about "what's wrong with America" rather than its strengths.

JMK said...

I doubt many men period, even many fireman would do what Mike did, with the police telling him to back off and stay away from the incident, after he'd stopped and ran across the busy bridge traffic.

Mike's a breed apart.

Like I said, I have a very long list of people I've met on the FDNY who I greatly respect and admire and I'm certain there are many others on other Departments that I'd have felt the same way about if I'd been fortunate enough to have met them, but Mike Finer is among a very, VERY rare breed and remains one of the people whom I've most admired.

I'd bet you'd be a great chauffeur (that's what we call those who drive the various fire apparatus)...and they're in great demand everywhere!

Uncle Joe said...

JMK wrote:

I think some of that is deliberate UJ.

The MSM is decidedly Left-wing and prefers stories about "what's wrong with America" rather than its strengths.
That's true. If he were arrested for solicitation it would have been on the front page of every news paper in the country.

JMK said...

"That's true. If he were arrested for solicitation it would have been on the front page of every news paper in the country." (UJ)
Yes, much of the MSM is complicit in, and party to an agenda that seems antithetical to traditional values and individualism - the pilars that America was built on.

Still, I'm actually LESS pessimistic than most Conservatives I see.

The electorate spoke last November.

The country chose to go with a naive, inexperienced "community activist" over an almost equally Liberal, pro-government RINO.

For the past quarter century, amidst one of the most extensive periods of widespread prosperity in the country, the MSM have railed against Conservatives from Reagan to Gingrich to Brownback and others, while labeling Keynesian, pro-government Republicans like G W Bush and John McCain as "Conservatives."

The MSM got the result they campaigned for, in large measure due to the credit crisis being blamed entirely on the GOP (instead of RIGHTLY on Dodd, Frank, Pelosi, Reid AND the G W Bush administration) and John McCain's incredibly lame and ineffectual campaign.

Now we're in for some serious HARD TIMES.

THAT'S not the end of the world.

EVERYTHING that can be put in place by Obama can be torn down again, once it fails. In fact, there's no failure so big that market-based policies couldn't rectify.

Currently the Obama administration (whom I DON'T hate, nor see as at all radical) is embarking on many of the same policies that Jimmy Carter did, and in the process, overspending by a factor of FIVE what the spendthrift G W Bush spent!

Ironically enough, in terms of the Credit Crisis and the stock market, we seem to be on the verge of a recovery.

The irony is that the current policies will almost certainly make that recovery both short-lived and easy to miss, because, in short order, they're going to result in massive inflation, rising interest rates and almost certainly skyrocketing unemployment.

By 2010, we could very easily be in the grip of a post-recovery period of STAGFLATION.

At that point, I'd expect Liberals to blame the "previous administration's bad policies," BUT with the Obama administration more than doubling the DEBT, while quadrupling the DEFICIT (deficit spending) in its first few months...that won't easily wash.

We could very easily see another Gingrich revolution by November of 2010....I only hope that the Moderate-wing of the GOP is effectively muzzled by then and that Party is ready and able to deliver on a Reaganite/Gingrichian mandate.

We don't need any more Keynesian Republicans.

Can a lot of harm be done by 2010 or 2012?


But nothing that can't be undone or reversed once they fail.

Conservatives had a stand-bearer (G W Bush) who abandoned Conservative principles in favor of a Keynesian, pro-big government agenda and the electorate preferred a true LIBERAL over a pseudo-Liberal like McCain....this time Conservatives BETTER learn from our mistakes.

Moderate/Country-Club Republicans (the Bush's, Dole's, Specter's and Whitman's) are anathema to Conservatism!

American Ideas Click Here!