SAMUEL CARRION, JR.
A 14yr veteran firefighter and the Assistant Honor Guard Commander of the Mission Fire Department in Texas
This month’s featured member of Clan Brave – Samuel Carrion Jr., a 14yr veteran Firefighter and the Assistant Honor Guard Commander of the Mission Fire Department in Texas.
What does bravery mean to you?
Bravery means doing something that scares you. You push through the fear regardless of the outcome knowing that at the end you might be able to do something great.
How Samuel discovered real bravery:
I’ve been the Assistant Honor Guard Commander for my department for about 8 years now. In that time, unfortunately I have attended numerous funerals where the bagpipes were played. I’ve always enjoyed the sound of the bagpipes and been proud of the history and tradition within the Fire Service.
Recently we lost a recently retired Lieutenant and a veteran volunteer firefighter. Unfortunately, for our lieutenant’s funeral we could not find a bagpiper and for the other we had to hire a piper from out of town.
It was at that moment I realized our brothers and sisters should not be laid to rest without the sounds and harmonies of the bagpipes to carry them home. I decided to undertake the task myself. There was a ton to learn including breathing, bag pressure, drone tuning and a whole lot of maintenance. The bagpipes are an extremely temperamental instrument, even the weather has an effect. It can sound perfect one moment, then you walk outside and get a totally different sound.
I read books, watched YouTube videos and practiced everyday for almost two years until I was proficient with several tunes, grace notes and embellishments. The first tune I learned was Amazing Grace. I practiced that tune daily for almost 3 months until I learned it in its entirety.
By the two year mark I had learned three songs. Word got around the department that I was practicing doing well. I was approached with the news that they would like to gift me a set of bagpipes so that I could become the department’s first bagpiper.
When ordering my bagpipes I had the company inscribe “ENIM FRATRES MEI” which translate to “FOR MY BROTHERS” in Latin. This was a reminder that I embarked on this journey for them. Today, a little over two years later. I have performed at memorials services, pinning ceremonies, funerals and retirements.
How has Sport Kilt helped your journey?
My first public performance was for a retirement ceremony. I knew the day was coming so I ordered my kilt. Leading up to the ceremony I was extremely nervous. I practiced and practiced and even thought about pulling out and not performing.
Then my Sport Kilt arrived along with the other accessories I had ordered. When I looked at myself in the mirror the fear and doubt went away. I felt confident and sure that I would be able to do this. I can honestly say that my Sport Kilt gave me the confidence to overcome my nerves and go out there to perform for the first time.