Friday, September 02, 2005

Humans Helping Humans

I am so proud of my fire department.

Here in Northern Cali, we are about as far in the Continental states as you can get from the hurricane ravaged South; that hasn’t, however, slowed the (excuse the word) torrent of media coverage in this area. Not just heart-wrenching stories of victims, but also opportunities to help. There are charity drives aplenty; both for money and supplies. We are being asked to conserve gas so that there is enough to be sent South…water too.

We have a small fire department considering the population of this town and the acreage it covers. That has never stopped our firefighters from stepping up when tragedy strikes. We are known for, among other things, our willingness to share resources and man-power when it’s needed. We have an exceptionally high rate of mutual aid to forest fires, flood aid, and all manners of tragedy response.

After 9/11 our fire department appealed to the town and raised over $40,000 for the families of fallen firefighters in New York. (Did I mention our town population is just over 50,000 as of this year) It was our firefighters who raised the money for a new pediatric burn wing a couple years ago.

They don’t just talk around here…these guys act too. We sent a crew to New York a couple months after 9/11…they helped rebuild some of the fire stations that were damaged. Most of those guys still visit every 18 months or so, just to help out and encourage their “brothers”.

Now, the point of this story: We are doing it again. Our little department is sending two of our own to New Orleans for a minimum of ten weeks. Yeah that is 2 ½ months at the least. Because they are so well trained, they will have some of the worst jobs. As experienced EMS workers, they will be doing search and recovery…a job no one wants, but has to be done. They know going in that it will be a heart-rending experience…but one that will make a difference. It’s something they can give back to help. Their association is funding the trip as part of their contribution to the relief effort.

Both these guys are young (26 and 31) and married…one has a child. They will be separated from their spouses for longer than they ever have been. Please keep their families in your thoughts. The firefighters too, this is a dangerous assignment they’ve signed up for…I couldn’t be prouder to call these men: “Family”.

I will provide updates as I receive them.

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