SPRINGVILLE — ‘Tis the season in which local fire companies host installation dinners, to acknowledge and swear in various members of their company. This ceremony honors those whose tireless services to the community are often wrongly overlooked.
Many people can remember recent discussions about whether or not firefighters should be paid and how much money should be afforded to our local fire companies. Heated discussions were held, about this issue, while volunteer firefighters quietly continued to work, in their many communities.
Last Saturday evening, I sat in the Springville Fire Hall, camera and notebook in hand, and listened to the beautiful tributes to those who ensure our public safety, each and every day, and thought about how much we all have to be thankful for, thanks to these individuals.
From the fire chief, who leads his men and women into – effectively – battle, to the chaplain, who prays with suffering families, to the auxiliary members, who show up to refresh weary firefighters, so many people work, day in and day out, often un-thanked.
For just one evening, time is set aside, to acknowledge these men and women for everything they do, in our communities.
That thought made me pause. Hollywood stars hold events, every few weeks, in which they gather, in designer garments, to toast each other for their contributions to America.
How much more worthy of acclaim are those who are prepared to, at a moment’s notice, risk their lives for perfect strangers? And what do they get in return? Blood, sweat, tears, exhaustion and hours away from their families. And one day, per year, in which their communities say thank you.
Member Rosanne Horn read part of a poem, “When God Made EMS Providers,” which I think described the work expected of all public service individuals gathered in the fire hall, that evening.
“They have to be able to lift three times their own weight, crawl into wrecked cars, with barely enough room to move, and console a grieving mother, as they are doing CPR on a baby they know will never breathe again.
“They have to be in top mental condition at all times, running on no sleep, black coffee and half-eaten meals. And they have to have six pairs of hands.”
Many of us take the fire, police and emergency services available to us for granted. How many times do we pass members of our police departments, fire departments and emergency medical services without a second glance or a “thank you?”
Let us resolve that, this year, our community’s first responders will get more than just one evening of thanks.
Next time you walk past an individual who is sporting a fire company baseball cap or T-shirt, or sit next to a man or woman in uniform, stop for a second, to express your appreciation.
After all, that next call they answer could be for you.