To say we live in a society of bold and colorful individuals is an understatement. One only needs to stroll down any city street to see people who would have once been characterized as “outsiders” or “one of them” pleasantly blending into modern society. It’s acceptable to be personality-loud! We “old-schoolers” may shake our heads in disbelief, but truth be told, today’s unabashed youth are intelligent creative thinkers who only lack the hands-on skills that most of us grew up taking for granted. Why? Because they didn’t have to cut firewood to heat their homes, fix their own high-tech cars in a garage, or roof a house in summer heat – it simply isn’t a necessity these days.


However, what’s a tradition-heavy and stoic fire service legacy to do when well meaning, but socially flamboyant people, want to serve? Admittedly, my illustration is over the top, but there’s a discussion to be had about the future image of the fire service and what “image” really means. As exuberant tattoos, piercings, and creative hair color (and shapes) become more socially accepted, how and when does the fire service include these individuals who have the intelligence, dedication and skills, but are outwardly brazen?


This is NOT an anti-youth or millennial illustration, so please don’t read it that way. It is, at its heart, an attempt to get a conversation started about the future of our calling and the people who will be running this show long after the current caretakers have retired. Do you have policies in place for tattoos and piercings? Do you not? I would love to read the rationale for both.



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