My step dad John Kennedy is the strongest man I have ever met. He is a Navy Veteran, serving with the Seabees in NCMB 4 in the Gulf War. After his service he returned home to begin his life as a civilian enrolling in college to become an architect. After realizing that job was not for him, he took the exam for the Danbury Fire Department in his home town where he was born and raised. He was appointed as Danbury Fireman in 1999 finishing first in his recruit class. Shortly after he started his career he met my mother at the age of 27. She was recently divorced and had 2 children in tow. Rather than run away John tackled the responsibility of being a father to 2 young children he did not need to be a father of. Rather than going out with my mother on dates alone, if he knew we were with her, we were invited to go along to dinners and any adventure they had.
He married my mother in 2002 and we all officially began our lives together. He provided more than he will ever know for us. I know I was not the perfect child, but he took me under his wing and molded me into the man I am today.
John is known in his Fire Department of being the “go to guy” and is one hell of a fireman. He has been decorated numerous times for valor and saving lives in the line of duty. He is never afraid to get his hands dirty and crawl down what ever hallway his career has thrown at him. Currently John is one of the most decorated firemen in the city’s history.
In 2006 my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer and he did not quit or stop being the man he needed to be. He sat me down when we got the news in a room and let me get my emotions out, and said “okay, it is time to be a man and be the rock your family needs to be. What are we going to do to fix this?” John pulled every overtime shift he could to keep a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. He would be gone for days at a time working a job where any run could be his last because that is what needed to be done. We had to tackle this hurdle again in 2012 as she was sick again. There have been other really difficult times in our family that would be the one thing that could break the back of the proverbial camel.
He is the bravest and strongest man I know. He has given the shirt off his back to his friends and opened the doors to his home to the people in his life that need a place to be with no expectations to be paid back. If I could be half the man that he is for my family, I did okay. I could talk for hours about John and what he means to me and everyone around him. But at the end of the day he is one hell of a fireman, and was became a father when he did not have to be. When the going got tough for us, he was the anchor that held us down as well as the lighthouse that guided us through the turbulent waters to safety.
Thank you guys for taking the time to read this, and for your service to this nation.