News: Fire veterans say farewell to MCLB Barstow
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW – Some hear the calling to fight for their country, while others answer the call to fight fires.
Firefighters across the nation volunteer to put their lives at risk every day while fighting against Mother Nature. Fire fighting can be considered one of the most challenging jobs because no fire is ever the same.
Two individuals in particular, answered the calling and honorably served their country for more than 60 years combined.
For Lt. John P. Lee, being a fire fighter has been a career of a lifetime. He began his career in fire unexpectedly, when he was looking for a class to fill his college schedule.
“After seeing a flyer, (my friend and I) went to the class,” said Lee, an engineer with the fire department. “And since then, it’s been the most rewarding job.”
Shortly after leaving college with an associate degree in Fire Science, Lee honorably served for four years in the Air Force as a Fire Protection Specialist.
After he left the military, Lee moved back to Victorville and joined the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow Fire Department, where he has been a valuable member of the team for more than 35 years.
Though it is a challenging job, it’s worth every moment of hardship when it comes to helping people, said Lee.
“Lee cares a lot about people,” said Capt. Steve Mathos, supervisor of the Yermo Fire Station. He loves his job and loves working here. Over the years, Lee has accumulated more than 4,000 hours of sick leave that he never used, he added.
As Lee gets ready to part ways with friends and an occupation that has largely defined him, a dear friend and fellow co-worker prepares himself for the same.
Lee and Leonard P. Brumund met each other on duty in 1983 and they have been fighting fires together ever since.
Brumund began the career that he became fond of, the same way as Lee, by chance.
His first opportunity to fight fires was when he was employed by the U.S. Forest Service as a seasonal firefighter, from then he has been helping and saving citizens and their property.
“The most rewarding part of my job is fighting with fire,” said Leo Brumund, a firefighter also with the Yermo Fire Station. It’s the adrenaline high during duty that makes it enjoyable. Ask any firefighter or cop and they will tell you the same thing, he added.
When Brumund joined the MCLB Barstow Fire Department 32 years ago, he had no idea he would leave with a lifetime worth of memories, accomplishments and a lifelong friend who has been there since the beginning of his Barstow tour.
“Leo has been a firefighter forever and it was his choice to stay a firefighter,” said Mathos. He was a valuable asset to the station because of his wealth of knowledge and the willingness to teach the younger generation, he added.
There was never a dull moment around Lee and Brumund, chuckled Mathos as he remembered past antics and renowned memories.
“To this day I don’t know how they did it, but one time they hung Lee’s bed from the ceiling,” said Brumund.
They both will be greatly missed; it’s going to take some time to fill the void, added Mathos.
As they end this chapter of their life, both look forward to a new chapter, where they plan on staying friends.
“He’s like the neighbor who comes over to borrow your tools,” Brumund jokingly said.
Date Posted:05.25.2012 13:18
Location:BARSTOW, CA, US
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