the constant dangers around some of the people I care about. These firefighters, these EMTs, these cops - every day, every hour, never knowing if they will be called from their daughters' birthday parties, from church services, from deep sleep, from work, from a quiet evening with their wives.. and truly not knowing for sure if they will return.
But still they go. Never questioning that their community and their neighbors need them. I've seen them covered in ice, slip and fall and quickly get back up again, distraught because they can't get inside fast enough, struggling with heavy equipment in 90 degree heat, and still returning, again and again to help.
There are lovely poems out there that say it much better than I can but in my heart I love these volunteers. They are among the few of us that genuinely care what happens to the man down the street, the woman on a rural road, the children in an upstairs bedroom. They care if your business is damaged and can't reopen, and will carry file cabinets and boxes of records from burning structures. They care when they reassure you through the smashed car window as they try to remove you from your crumpled car. They care as they strip off their heavy turnout gear and dive into the water to pull you from a swift current. They care when they put the oxygen mask on your little kitty or puppy, trying to get them to breathe again. They care as they tell you that you will be alright, that the ambulance is coming, or use their personal cell phones to call your mother, or husband, or child. They care as they advise you about contacting the Red Cross, or simply provide fire safety tips to a classroom of second graders.
From "stop, drop and roll" to suiting up as McGruff to handing out smoke detectors, I thank the goddesses every day for those who will step in and do anything it takes to ensure my safety.