Introducing, Kate Scott, Fire Wife Sisterhood member. I had the privilege in getting to know Kate better and it was hard trying to decide which questions we were using! Kate is married to Kevin Scott, who is on the Buffalo Fire Department in Buffalo, NY, their hometown. He as been a firefighter for 19 years and is currently on Rescue 1 in the city’s technical recuse house. Kevin has two children from his first marriage, Kevin is 25 & Laura is 23. Together they are the proud adoptive parents of Janis Joplin, a 3 year old boxer mix. Kate and Kevin live in the midst of the city and just celebrated their 7th wedding anniversary in September. Kate is a housewife who loves to help people and has a creative side that is fed with crafting and writing.
How did you meet?
We met at the dive bar where he bounces. I lived around the corner. Seeing him at the door, I turned to my friends and professed my love. That is why it was so perfect when it actually happened years later.
What drew you to each other?
First of all, I thought he was SUPER hot: tall, dark and handsome! Then I got to know him and found out he is kind, level-headed and intelligent. We clicked; it was easy to talk to him. Kevin, from day one, has always just made me feel safe and at ease. He tells me I am easy-going, funny, smart and sweet. It’s fun to be together, we just work. (His words.)
What is your best communication tip for fire couples considering marriage?
Be completely honest about your fears, expectations and needs. Especially in this life where time is rare and nothing is certain, open communication is the best survival tool. Not being able to be honest with your spouse spells disaster because eventually you won’t be able to hold it in anymore.
How did the proposal go?
I cannot say we had a proposal moment. About a month into our relationship I told Kevin I was interested in finding a husband, nothing less, and if he was not on the same path I did not want to waste my time. He agreed wholeheartedly, to my delight and surprise. Once we were living together it was clear marriage was inevitable. A couple months later we decided it was time to get a ring and make it official. Nine months after that we had a small country ceremony with a firefighter minister presiding. Couldn’t have asked for more.
What was it like meeting his family?
Emotional. He did not tell me he was caring for a sick mom at first. I met his mom the weekend before I moved in, not long after he told me about her Alzheimer’s. I went to pick him up for a date and he wanted me to meet his dog, Matilda, and brought her into the yard. His mom, Anna, came running out after the dog and stopped when she saw me. Her face filled with a smile and she wrapped me in a hug, saying how she was so happy and loved me. I think she had seen Kevin get happier over the last three months and knew I was the reason. We just kept hugging; it was very moving. As I cared for her over the next year I met his siblings, who all live out of town. They were very welcoming.
What was your first big fight over?
Our first big fight was two stressed and overtired people taking their frustrations out on each other. I don’t remember how it started but I remember it was within a month of living together. I moved in during Buffalo’s October storm and our house had no power or heat for 8 days. I was also learning to deal with an Alzheimer’s patient. Stress got the best of us and we fought till we collapsed. Then we apologized and snuggled. That is kind of our way.
Name a favorite memory or moment…
It is a moment that repeats often, but it makes me feel like a girl in love every time: When we snuggle and he kisses my forehead. I am thankful I found such a physically and verbally affectionate man; it helps me thrive. Also, being apart so often makes this connecting time imperative and treasured.
Favorite thing to do together?
We love to cuddle and watch TV/movies in bed. It may sound boring but since our time is rare and he is usually exhausted, it works for us. Plus my favorite place to be is wrapped in his arms, so I will take every chance I get! Our second favorite thing is going out to eat. We both love food and Buffalo has some incredible food and romantic restaurants. It is nice to hold hands across the table and just be together.
How would you want to inspire others with your marriage?
For my single friends, I want them to retain their hope in love. For both single and married friends, I want to dispel the notion that marriages must be unhappy. Nothing will ever be perfect and easy, but marriage is so much more than the image of a death sentence the world creates. It can be an exciting adventure full of ups and downs and lots of love.
What is your advice for anyone in a rough season?
That is a hard questions, as all situations are very different but one thing I think everyone should remember is: Take care of you! No one else can nourish you the way you can and if you get neglected the situation can’t improve. You need to be at your strongest to battle through the hard times. Don’t feel guilty about taking some refreshing time, be it a bath, a pedicure, a walk alone, a massage, a glass of wine, a girl’s night. Just putting a little effort into your own well-being can go a long way.
What do you say to someone who says marriage is “just a piece of paper”?
…a piece of paper that represents a dedicated commitment to my partner in life. It is that devotion that, paper or not, I do not take lightly. Some may choose to not legally dedicate themselves to one another but it is our desire and our choice. I’m proud of it, personally.
Do you still go on dates?
Yes. Often. Sometimes the schedule is packed for weeks but we will start to see the need and immediately head off to a romantic dinner, as soon as a few hours become free. The most important thing is staying connected.
It’s shift day and you have an important issue you really want to talk about, what do you do?
I will call. If no answer, I text. At that point, all I can do is wait. The more urgent, the less time I let pass, but at least an hour later, probably more, I will check in again. If there is a complete emergency I will call profusely and even try the house line, but sometimes there can be no response and you just have to deal on your own. He will call when he can, especially if he sees three missed calls in a row and my crazy texts.
Was he a fireman when you met or did that come after?
He had been a fireman for 11 years when we started dating. Kevin became a firefighter months after his divorce, at the age of 32.
Has he ever had any close calls?
Kevin has called me from the hospital twice, a broken hand and then a broken foot. Those were no fun.
The worst, however, was the call where he lost two of his brothers. He was on overtime. At 5am my phone ringing woke me out of a dead sleep. I answer, “Hello.” I hear, “Kate, it’s Kevin. I just want you to know, in case you see it on the news, I am ok, I am not trapped. I have to go, I love you,” and the phone went dead. I immediately turned on the news and saw the fire. Two firefighters had fallen through the floor of a burning building while looking for an occupant. It was a horrible fire and extenuating circumstances made it tragic. That was probably the worst time of his career and has caused some nervous reactions since, at least for me. It took a while for Kevin to recover, as well.
What helps you keep worrying at bay?
In general, I try not to let myself fall into worry. Trusting in his experience and wisdom is my strongest weapon. We discuss his job often so I know his expertise and have some basic knowledge myself. However, when I see a fire on the news or don’t hear from him for a while, my safety net is dog snuggles.
What is the #1 quality you think a woman has to have (or grow to have) to be a firefighter’s wife?
Understanding. When those tones sound during our phone call or overtime cancels date night or he is too tired to bake cookies, understanding helps reduce or void the anger caused by our sacrifices. It helps us realize all he sacrifices, at the same time.
Do you have any rituals about saying goodbye when he leaves for shift or if when you end a phone call when he is on shift?
About half the time I drive him to work, as we share a car. When we arrive, we good bye kiss and he grabs his stuff and waves while I shout, ‘I love you. If I don’t drive him we do said ritual at home but I hug him more Smiling face with smiling eyes
We say ‘I love you’ a lot.
What is the best advice you could offer anyone in a relationship with a fireman?
Find ways to occupy your time that bring you joy when he is working. When he is home, try to find time to focus on each other. Do not take that time for granted. Even if you have kids, they need you to focus on one another. It helps keep everyone happy and connected. Due to time restraints, we have to work harder to stay connected as firefighter families.
What does the Sisterhood provide for you and would you recommend it to all fire wives?
The sisterhood provides support, understanding from those in similar situations, and a place to be open and honest. There is a perspective in this group that helps you deal with the stress, obstacles and uniqueness of the fire life. Plus everyone is caring and fun, leading to support mixed with games, because we can all use a smile. This group makes me smile a lot. Whenever I think it couldn’t get better, it does.
We know what your firefighter’s passion is, but what sets YOUR heart on fire?
I always felt like I couldn’t answer that question, and it may be because the answer in my heart is not ‘normal.’ I love to write and make things with my hands, which I am working on making into careers. However, my overwhelming passion is helping people. I have not found the job for me in this arena, but I find my place helping those in my life and community. Changing the world one person at a time is my calling and I have accepted that, slowly, very, very slowly.
Tough and often touchy topic… Have you had “the talk” with your fireman about his last wishes if he were to ever die in the line of duty?
We have discussed what risks his job entails. I can’t put it any other way, as writing it down makes it too real but… I know about the life insurance policies for me and the kids and how the city will handle everything, as we went though it for his friends, sadly. It brings tears to my eyes, but I have even told him my plan. I know it would crush my soul to lose him, but life is not scripted. If I faced being alone I would foster a house full of children. I would immediately buy a house and get certified, no question. Maybe a few dogs, too.