It's not unusual for a firefighter to stare death in the face at least once in their career. But for one South Texas volunteer, it's a glimpse he's already seen up close and personal.
Ronnie Ramirez has always dreamed about being a firefighter, just like his dad. This Rio Grande Valley native is a member of the Raymondville Volunteer Fire department. His dad, Fred, is a 31-year veteran and the departments fire chief.
"Ronnie has always been around me. He was fascinated by fire service so he said as soon as I’m old enough to join, I want to join," says Ronnie's dad, Fred Ramirez.
"I wanted to be just like my dad, but who doesn't right?" says Ronnie.
Ronnie's done everything from fighting fires to teaching kids more about the job he loves and he's always eager to do whatever he can to help out.
"If there was anywhere I could go, I would go. If there was anything that needed to be done, it was done. You name, it I did it," says Ronnie.
Two years ago, this firefighter was fighting for his life. In October of 2003, Ronnie suffered a stroke from a brain aneurysm that put him in a coma. What looked like a dead end for Ronnie and his family turned into a sheer miracle.
"He couldn't talk, he couldn't walk, he couldn't do anything. But at the same time, he got in there and got em going," says Fred.
Despite the lack of use on his right side, Ronnie didn't give up. He says the support of his family and friends was what helped him survive.
"I didn't do this for me. I did it for a lot of other people they pulled me through," says Ronnie.
After months of therapy, he was determined he would be back out fighting fires.
"I just have the faith that I will fight again. I'm not saying its gonna be this week or this year or whenever, but I’m determined that I am," says Ronnie.
A little over a year ago, Ronnie was back in action, helping out where he could. He's still limited to what he can do and says his challenges only make him that much stronger.
"Just live life like it’s your last day," says Ronnie.
"It’s hard but one thing I’ve gotta say, I’m proud of him and we're up here today and we're a team," says Fred.
A team that will always stick together.
The Texas Municipal Fire Training School will be holding public demonstrations at Brayton Fire Training Field Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. The demos will showcase fire fighting techniques.
Parking will be available along side Nuclear Science Road, which intersects the west end of George Bush Drive off FM 2818.
Upload your photo, with a caption of your reason to smile, then watch the last half hour of BVTM from 6:30A - 7A Monday mornings to see if your photo makes it.