Hello my name is Amee, short for my given name Amorette. It was an Italian thing from my Italian mother. I am married to a Chief of my hometown we both grew up in and we have a blended family with my stepson of who I have helped raise since he was about 10 yrs old. He is now 21 (crazy!!), we have a daughter and son together, she is just now 13 (yikes!!) and our mid life crisis child will be 7 in a few days. I finally after too many years of full time at one of our local hospitals went down to working part time at a private outpatient clinic assisting in oral surgery. Before that I worked in cardiac surgery. I have been in the medical field for 14 years.
How did you meet?
I have known my husbands family for years, went to school with his younger brother. I would say we officially met through his brother who is also a firefighter in another town. We were friends with benefits for a while, in denial of wanting to date or be in a relationship!! Lol!! And then one day out of the blue he asked me on an official date and that’s all it took.
Was he the chief when you met? How did that change things?
He was not, he was a platoon chief, had been platoon chief for years when we met. He was one of the youngest guys to be a platoon chief at his dept. He was due to be Chief next when his buddy retired which would have made him the youngest chief there (in his early 40s) But when the time came he was bypassed unexpectedly by the trustees at the time for another firefighter 2 ranks below him that they offered much less money to do the job. It came as a huge shock to many, my husband the most!! It was a very hard time for us, he wanted to give up on the dept he so loved. But he stuck with it through thick and thin and within a few years the Chief was demoted for alot of different reasons and he was quickly appointed Chief, that was almost 5 yrs ago now. It was an eye opener for sure, he had a huge mess to clean up that should have never happened in the 1st place, all but one trustee had been replaced also. I would say the hardest thing was getting used to him being home EVERY nite in MY bed!!!! Lol!! I use to complain about him not being home, and then when he was I wanted him to go back to shift!! Ha!! But we adjusted, the hours were crazy at first, he put in way to many hours at first but in the next year he was able to even it out and it was great to have him be there for the kids.
You married into a big ole firefighting family. How does that all work out? (MIL, SIL relations, extra worries? etc)
Yes his father retired from the same dept as a firefighter and fire inspector, his Uncle retired from a city fire dept, his brother is also a firefighter in a different town. At family get togethers I would guess you can imagine whats talked about!!?? Lol!! Neat hearing the old stories though, especially the ones from when Todd was a young firefighter and his dad was still there. Todd has been with his dept 29 years. The women in the family all have power struggles so sometimes that can cause issues. I guess I would say I’m the same. Depending on the day depends if your the black sheep in the family or not!?!? Ha!! But my husband and I are NOT ones to like drama so sometimes we stay away if there are family issues, they always seem to work themselves out.
Best advice you’ve ever received about being a fire wife?
Always understand when they get a call, they have to go, it’s in their blood to go!! And keep a strong open lines of communication, always!! When they have tough days, tough calls, let them speak of it when they are ready, not to pry too much.
Like many, this is not your first marriages. What have you done differently this time around to make things work so well?
Yes we both came from a divorce, both with our high school “sweet hearts”!! That is why we were engaged forever before making a commitment. It was hard for us both, we were both cheated on (more than once) from our exs and taken for a long hard ride which I feel brought us together. In ways we were each others therapy. My husband had been divorced for 9 years when we had met up and I was just newly divorced, so he helped me a lot on what to expect, and he was right. We are ALWAYS honest with one another and always talk through (or yell!! Lol!!) our problems and arguments. We have a 50/50 share marriage. We both do things to help out in our family, rather it be chores, cooking, running kids, he does what he can and when he can’t he is appreciative. And we both understand the true meaning of love and would never break that trust.
What’s your advice to wives who’s husbands are officers or trying to get promoted?
Understand they will have to give them time to adjust and time to study and time to stress out. It can be very stressful and demanding when going through that process. Be there “out” when they need to vent. And hold yourself in a positive influence for your husbands dept in and out of the public eye!! I see some spouses break this regularly and I feel it’s irresponsible to such a public position.
What’s your advice for the blended fire families?
Give it TIME, in time your family will be a family, don’t push it too quick or you will just push it apart!! My stepson was young when I came into the picture and when I moved in it was a very hard adjustment for him, before me it was just always him and his dad and he had 100% attention, and it was their bachelor pad!! Lol!! My husband had 50/50 custody so his son was with us every day he was off. It took years for things to blend well, my husbands ex was of no help,either so that was hard on all of us. She was use to controlling everything until I came along and would not allow wrong doing and nastiness!! So she would do her best to pit my stepson against me. But by golly I stuck it out and won!! :):) It was hard for a while but worth it in the end.
What’s your biggest dream for the fire service and fire families?
Well of course for all to stay safe and trained well at ALL times. Keep family gatherings going on for the dept so that everyone has the chance to get together and encourage positive actions at all times!! I would love to see our dept get a new station or at least an add on for sleeping arrangements. Our building is its original building since 1959!!! It’s in NEED of updates. The guys (9 a shift/24 hrs) all still have to sleep together in a bunker room that during the day consist of the training room, the beds close into the walls. They are in need of space!! :):)
There are lots of department philosophies on social media engagement right now. And very good reasons to set up guidelines for this new and sometimes damaging public soapbox. Having been a part of firefighter wife community online since the beginning, what have you learned about the best way to avoid the online drama and real life issues it can cause?
Our dept has been part of a huge social media outbreak that has turned into a legal monster with a terminated platoon chief. I can not say enough to ALWAYS use common sense and good judgement when it comes to social media such as facebook, twitter, text, emails, etc. under NO circumstance is it ever ok to discuss your husbands job as a firefighter in any negative way whatsoever nor is it ok for your firefighter to do the same, again common sense, but there are many out there with out it. If you ever have a time that you question posting something, sending a text, etc. then DON’T!! That goes for you’re firefighter also. Our society has turned into such a social media outbreak it has caused many problems and concerns not only in your personal life but your professional life as well. If you wouldn’t say it to you’re someones face , especially your boss then you surly shouldn’t post it out there for the public or on dept emails, right??? That really goes for everyone really, not just the fire dept family. Just use common sense, there is NO excuse for this behavior from anyone but especially for a fireman with such a public position for his/her community!!