Retired Louisville firefighter writes book on life's work

A retired Louisville firefighter is now a published author.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A retired Louisville firefighter is now a published author.

Using the notes he took over most of his career, the former assistant fire chief lets readers in on his life's work and why it has little to do with battling flames.

It is a job unlike any other and a responsibility that weighs heavily. "You're affecting the lives of a community of people," Michael Ford, Jr. said.

Ford calls it a thrill ride you'll never forget. "A kid who was burnt up, I know he lived past a year. Is he still living? How'd he do in his life? It's like an open book that you never get to read the end of the story," he said.

In the midst of thousands of fire and medical runs, Ford was busy writing a book of his own."I started to think to myself, you know I'm learning something in what I'm seeing. It's affecting me," Ford said. "You know, they say that in the firehouse all the time, 'one day I'm going to write a book about this,' and I kept saying to myself, one day I really should write a book about this." 

The father of five retired in 2017 to teach professional development, help local children in need and start schools in Africa.

"Very tough act to follow, yes. Yes, indeed. He's really qualified. Business minded, administrative, definitely tough to follow," says Lieutenant Colonel Bruce Himes, Assistant Chief for the Louisville Fire Department.

He recently published "24, What Can Happen in a Day."

"I downloaded it on my phone, and I read it that first day, the whole book," retired Sgt. Damon Daldon said.

The book pulls from Ford's notes that span his career. "After I had about seven years on the department, I just started jotting notes, saying to myself, 'one day I'm going to write a book, let me remember this part.'"

"He gave somebody that wasn't a fireman a perspective of a 20 plus year career in 40 some pages," Daldon said.

The book also looks at life. "You hear the saying, 'here one minute and gone the next.' It's true. You learn that on the fire department. Most firemen understand day to day, you understand that life is just a vapor. You really need to treasure the loved ones that you have, treasure the people that are in your lives. So, that affected me, made me say, 'I've got to tell people about this,'" Ford said.

Through his stories, the book highlights the beautiful, the tragic and making the most out of a situation. "It's trying to get the reader to see that each one of us have 24 hours, and that you should take that 24 hours and maximize the 24 hours that you have," Ford said.

It also serves as a tribute to the department he's been proud to serve. "I personally want to say thank you to the fire service. Thank you," he said.

"24, What Can Happen in a Day" is available online through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Ford's site. By request, he's now working on a second book.

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