Strong of Heart: Life and Death in the Fire Department of New York

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The Site

May 30, 2002

"How will we ever get through this?" is the question I asked on the night of September 11.

"How?"

Maybe the answer is here, all around me. Not just in the cleanup, not just in the purpose demonstrated by all who came and labored in these months.

The answer is in the enduring spirits of all assembled here. That, for me, is the miracle in all of this: having looked horror in the face, we bear the pain without losing heart.

-- Thomas Von Essen

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About the author

Thomas Von Essen served as the Thirtieth Fire Commissioner of New York City from April 1996 to December 31, 2001. Before becoming fire commissioner, he spent nearly three years as president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest firefighters union in the nation. Von Essen joined the fire department in 1970 and was assigned to Ladder 42 in the Bronx, where he spent most of his firefighting career. Currently, Von Essen is a senior vice president at Giuliani Partners LLC, a New York consulting firm headed by former mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. He lives in Manhattan with his wife, Rita.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
Nov 30, 2010
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Pages
416
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ISBN
9780062041487
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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An Arrested Heart is an ordinary man’s story of life in Rhodesia, wartime flying, marriage and journey in following an extraordinary God. The book details some history of how the country was formed, his life as a school boy and outstanding sporting achievements. It highlights his exploits as a bush fighter pilot during the intense and bloody war that transformed the country to one man-one-vote, black ruled Zimbabwe. The book also describes his marriage, move to South Africa and subsequent meltdown as a person, resulting in divorce and extreme loneliness and depression. However a radical encounter with God led to remarriage to his wife, repatriation with his children and a life-time calling to missions. The story outlines the tremendous personal struggles within, dealing with the impact of the war and his privileged upbringing and subsequently following God’s purpose for his life. His personal journey of faith resulted in him and his family serving God in missions with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in Southern Africa and many opportunities to visit various countries sharing God’s love. The story encompasses the transformation of his personal belief system and is a testimony of a family completely renewed for His service. It culminates in an amazing story of commitment to care for abandoned, HIV/AIDS affected and other vulnerable children in Lesotho. Ray’s vision to establish a centre of excellent service to these children and widows in the community has resulted in the establishment of a R8 million care centre designed to serve in various ways. This service to give children a second chance in life has resulted in opportunities to motivate many people from all over the world to get involved in the tiny country of Lesotho. Hundreds of people worldwide have since partnered by giving, going or representing this centre. An Arrested Heart is filled with anecdotes of extreme personal emotions, varying from pain and abject suffering to exuberant celebration and joy. It will be an inspiration to anyone who may doubt their self worth and ability to ever achieve anything significant with their life. It is also is a deliberate and unashamed testimony of God’s love and commitment to every person and His desire to see us all live abundant and fulfilled lives. The book is raw, honest and intimate in its content and should cause those who read it to search within themselves and find faith and belief to move from where they are, to greater things, no matter what their past or present situation. The author’s following favourite quote by President Theodore Roosevelt captures the essence of how he tries to live his life: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
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