Vincent Brunton: A Picture of
Brunton had always known that her husband, Vincent, the
captain of Truck Company Ladder 105, loved being a
firefighter. He joined the department 22 years ago, the
same year they got married, the same year their daughter
Kelly was born.
But it was not until she received a four- page letter
from a young firefighter she did not recall having met
that Mrs. Brunton came to appreciate the kind of
firefighter her husband had been, the lessons he was
always prepared to teach and the depth of respect others
had for him.
"I could go into his office at 11:30 p.m. and ask him
a fire question and he would lean back in his chair and
tell me countless stories," the letter from the
firefighter, Will Hickey, said. "He would say the best
way to learn is from your mistakes. `If you're not making
mistakes, you are not trying.' "
Even a false alarm provided an opportunity to learn.
Mr. Hickey described how terrified he once had been at a
fire with Captain Brunton. Flames were shooting out the
windows and the roof. "I was thinking to myself, `This
guy is absolutely crazy! What is he thinking, he's John
Wayne or something?' " But Captain Brunton, 43, took his
arm and showed him what to do.
"I have put a small picture of him on the underside of
my helmet," Mr. Hickey said. "Sometimes I just touch it
to remind me to stay calm, to keep it simple and to
`think on my feet.'"