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Test of Courage



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Andrew Smith
Smithers WV

I think fire fighting is an excellent field to go in to im 13 years oldand i want to be a junior fire fighter when i become 15 and then go tocolledge to be a fire marshall in the state of west virginia ive alwaysbeen around and liked fire engines weather it was matchbox cars or thereal thing please email me if you are a fire fighter


I just wanted to say that I am a mother of a 1st year probie,,and I am sovery proud of him for wanting to do this most dangerous job. Just puttingyour life on the line for someone that you do not even know, is couragepride and true. I pray for him and his NEW Family each and every nightthat they will be safe.

Veronica Cortes

Firefighting is an awesome occupation. It's not just a job, it's anadventure. It is also the last battleground of the good ol' boys. Because it is a "fraternity," minorities are not easily accepted. Discrimination exists, not in the recruitment of applicants, but in theactual hiring processes used to eliminate applicants. In Texas, laws werepassed to adopt an objective process whereby an entrance exam isadministered, applicants are ranked according to their score. Anapplicant must pass a physical fitness test, medical physical and/orpsychological exam. However, this process has not been followed in SanAntonio for 40 years. Instead it has been replaced by a subjectiveprocess that ultimately favors relatives of firefighters. City's shouldadopt hiring processes that eliminate the subjectivity of the hiringprocess. This would allow the best qualifed hispanics, blacks, and womeninto fire departments. We are not asking for affirmative action, we demanda fair chance to compete and be treated equally.

Assistant Chief Brian Thurston
Jackson, MI

I heard about the show and was able to catch it during a playback. I wasimpressed. Great job. It dealt with many real issues and no sugarcoating. Both victory and sorrow. I felt it covered and represented thefire service and current the diversity issues. Thanks.

Tanya Mitchell
Cumming, Ga

I think this is a good idea and I what to be a fire person. I am going togo to school for this and learn about it.

George Straubhaar
Barneveld, Wisconsin

I liked the show it really let me now the meaning of a firefighter reallyis. I only now a littel being a volunteer firefighter myself. I hope tosee more programs like this one on TV. I think the men and women in thefirefighting career are heros to themselves and to theirfamily.Firefighting is probably not the best job, but I think it's mostexciting job.I also think that anybody has a place in this career.

Andrew Martin
Fallin Stirlingshire

I think being a firefighter must be a very tough job and I know some ofmy friends are stupid to prank call you when there could be some poorperson in a house that's burning. I think you're doing a BRILL job.

Dear Kyung Sun,

First, allow me to say that I saw your documentary "Test of Courage", andI thought it was fantastic. The highlight to me was when one of the firefighterssays that affirmative action is not about giving opportunities to those whoaren't qualified, but rather it's about not denying opportunities to those whoare qualified. Almost everyone who discusses the issue misses that point.


Hello, I came across your website and I was totally taken by what all Ihave read. My brother in law was a volunteer firefighter until hisaccident and I feel I did not give the credit due. I never realized allthat comes along with the job. I suppose I somewhat took for granted whathe did. I owe him an apology.I have four boys and I plan to let them seethis site. My second son totally admires his Uncle Randy. He was alwaysthe one bringing the firetruck to the school and doing the lectures forthe children. I feel I never took in consideration all that he along withso many other firefighters do on an every day basis.The challenges theyface emotionally and as well physically. Viewing this site has made mestop and think for a moment about the feelings I may would have if any ofmy boys decided to become a firefighter. In all reality we give our lawinforcement much praise in the communities but I feel now that our firedepartment deserves equal praise. You men and women offer yourselves inorder save us

Don J. Williams
Gardnerville Nevada

I liked the show very much.I recently retired from the Oakland FireDept.It is a fine dept and very progressive about social issues.I have theupmost respect for the people of the OFD and belive they do an excellentjob of serving the public.Great show and am very proud to be a retired OFDmember.

Chris Knight
Cincinnati, Ohio

Wow. "Test of courage" really captured why I and many of my F.D. "family"decided to become firefighters. I'ts always hard to put it into words whenpeople ask why do you do what you do but this program nailed it on thehead. It also showed me that, like the men and women in that Oaklandfirehouse, I'm in it for the right reasons.buyers.

Bill Conduit
Oakland Calif

Bravo Gary for a beautiful job. Impressive and very compelling subjectmatter you touched ones nerves so well. Mine were. Over the last 20 yearsI've been a shooter of fire incidents in Oakland in both still and nowvideo coverage for sale to TV stationbuyers.

During that time I've become very akamai about the department and how itworks. Also in the past doing interviews of firemen who clients wantedfurtherance of: Earthquake, Firestorm, major fires.

In all those years, even though I am an outsider, the firefighters fromrookie on up to Fire Chief have treated me with respect for the job I do.But I respect the job they do.

What we saw on the tube was a summation of how Oakland performs every dayas they do and how well they do their job. Now with the ladies know, I've never given that much thought while getting video ofthe women or men in how they do their assigned tasks.

I guess Oakland trains well. When in action I never give "woman or man" athought as they pull hoses, vent roofs, kick windows out, help victims,carry victims, see many of them in the stores shopping for needs of thestation they are at.

This program sums up what I see every time I cover an Oakland Fire Deptincident. I see with my video camera people dedicated to the best servicethey can give to those in need. And that is what I try to convey when I am at a fire or whatever else theyare sent to serve the public's needs about.

Interesting thought: I get to see who they are via my viewfinder and neverthink about their race, their sex or their politics. I see people helpingpeople. Maybe the homogenization is being affected.

You save a a fireman or firewoman does. No one asks them: areyou ?

I know I don't. I just see a lot of friends who I've come to respect andbelieve in.

Great presentation Gary.
bill conduit
video stringer


I enjoyed your show but I would have liked to have seen something onexplorers and future Fire Fighters. Check out my post's site. would have also been nice to see some other ethnic groups shown in theFire Department other then Black and Hispanics. There are plenty ofPolish, French, German and Italian Fire Fighters in many Departments...


I'm confused!! I was reading through the story on firefighting, andreally don't understand why it turned in to a story about diversity??? Ithink your writers are scatterbrains, or you're putting a pretty liberalslant on a story!!!

Michael Gibson
Ringoes, NJ

I came in towards the last 5 minutes of this very interesting documentaryand hope that it will be rebroadcast at a later date. On the question ofwhether its the best job in the world or not, its in the eye of thebeholder to answer that. I personally get a satisfaction in helping mycommunity's safety,both in offensive actions (active firefighter for 23years and presently as an assistant fire chief) and defensively ( helpingto educate children in elementary school during October's Fire PreventionWeek and as a Fire Safety Merit Badge counsellor and assistant scoutmaster with the local Boy Scout Troop. I believe that diversity can beachieved without discrimination, but only through proper upbringing ... Itall begins at home.I also believe that there will be an even playingfield, as more and more positions accept minorities and women such as inthe military (chiefs of staff), politics (vice presidents and up), as longas politics and religion never enter the picture.

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