Saturday, November 28, 2009

I am NOT a Hero, but thank you.....

One of the points of this blog is that as volunteer responders, we are ‘on call’ all the time and never know when or what we will be called to do. Hours and days of boredom interrupted by seconds or minutes of extreme stress and testing to see if we can do it right, not get hurt, and mitigate the problem. No stress there, right?
As I’ve mentioned, we are a small town with lots of little roads, and a couple of State and County roads passing through. Most of us join to be a help to our neighbors. You get to be known by many in town as one of ‘the good guys’. They see you in the convenience store grabbing coffee and ask how you are with a big genuine smile, sometimes they even pay for your coffee. They see your personal vehicle going down the road with the blue light and FD plate on the front and they give you a big wave. I don’t even know most of the people I wave back to. Apparently they know me. On rare occasions they embarrass me in public. I’ll stop in a store and there is ‘Mom’ just leaving with her purchase, she spies me, gets this big smile and gets into my comfort zone quickly, lest I might escape. She says in a voice loud enough for everybody to hear around her, but not loud enough to seem like an announcement . “OH! It’s so good to see you again. I wanted to thank you one more time. My little Johnny is doing just fine and is fully recovered. I don’t know WHAT we would have done if you hadn’t come. You really saved his life and we are SO grateful. God Bless you and the others in the Department.” If she is with a friend, she will then relate the story of how I ‘saved’ her son’s life. If I am lucky, there will be enough detail so that I can remember which boy is hers, and what call she is talking about. In this particular case I didn’t do anything to save her son. My job on that call was getting medical info from the Mom, keeping her calm, and explaining what was being done and why. I also explained how she could expect things to go once they arrived at the hospital. Of course you try to tell them “It’s a team effort, I was just doing my job. I’m glad your son is fine. “He’s a good kid, but tell him for me; ‘No more rock climbing without a rope, OK?’ ”.
You collect a few dozen of these incidents and people start talking about you behind your back. It’s not the usual nasty small town gossip stuff, quite the contrary; they talk you up into hero status. I hate that word hero, it is SO overused. I have never, single handed, saved a person’s life. It’s a team effort. I don’t have the tools or the skills to do it alone. I MAY have held off death long enough for some additional help to arrive, but as of yet I am not superman. I’ll let you know when that happens.

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