It’s Gratituesday! Today I am thankful for firefighters. I stand in awe of such willingness to rush into danger, the unknown and the chaotic.
On several occasions they brought relief and reassurance, along with their skills and knowledge.
My son was still an infant being cared for during the day by my mother when a house fire broke out in midwinter in their home. I raced from work to the home I’d grown up in, all the while seeing a pillar of black smoke marking my destination. The roads were snow packed and icy in our neighborhood and blocked off by the police. As I ran the last two blocks to my childhood home, the smoke changed from black to gray to white. I ran beside huge hoses pulsing with much-needed water to douse the flames.
I stood by helplessly at the neighbor’s home across the street as a gaping hole over the garage and kitchen smoked and sputtered in the huge sprays of water from those hoses. How grateful I felt then that someone had trained and prepared and was willing to help in such an emergency. Thanks to the quick response of the firefighters that day, more than half of the house survived the fire so Mom and Dad rebuilt.
Later one of my brothers became a firefighter. I learned through him how often these men and women show up for emergencies real and perceived. I learned how much of the job is psychologically difficult, seeing such suffering, dealing with death regularly, working with loss and heartache and tragedy. I gained even greater respect for firefighters as I saw things a bit more through his eyes. He became a hero to me.
My own children have needed the resources and cool-headed quick response of these angels. Twice they have come to my home for different reasons and both times treated me and my family with kindness, reassurance, professionalism, honesty and courtesy beyond what one might expect in an emergency. They also bring with them a feeling of hope that’s difficult to describe.
Just two years ago there were angels and heroes of all sorts, firefighters included, who saved my son from a car fire.
I have a dear friend (who helped save my son) who needed these resources three times in one month. Once for a house fire, then a week later for her husband who fell off the roof . The third time the firefighters arrived at the same grocery store to shop where she had been the moment she learned her little sister had committed suicide a few days earlier. Like angels they talked with her as she walked inside, heard her story, offered condolences and made her feel safe and cared for. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.
This weeks horrendous loss of almost an entire crew of firefighters clutches at my heart and takes the breath right out of me.
Where does such tenacity and courage come from? What kind of person willingly goes in toward what others are running from?
If words could bestow honor and gratitude worthy of such people I would pour out volumes. But words seem inadequate in the face of such sadness and loss. My condolences to their families. My thanks to them and all their brothers and sisters who give and serve so selflessly.