If you’re a regular reader you know that I broke up with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago (I’m horrible with time so forgive any inaccuracies regarding estimates). Well, we forgave each other and learned a good deal about ourselves. And I’m so very grateful for his continued love and forbearance and I believe that he feels the same way about me.
However, all that joy of reconciliation is tempered this week by the loss of the 19 firefighters in Yarnell, AZ. My boyfriend is a firefighter with over 14 years experience. Arizona is a small state and there are connections and relationships throughout not only the firefighting community but also among the larger emergency responders community. Every time anyone of them is injured or dies be it a police officer, an EMT, a firefighter, etc, the entire community is affected. Many of them have suffered numerous traumatic experiences as part of their careers and every time an incident like this happens it dredges up all those awful feelings. They relive the past quietly bearing those burdens while they continue doing their job saving the lives of their fellow citizens. That ripple of pain spreads out to their family members, who often also know the lost and their families. And it becomes amplified by the worry of their spouses, children and parents who know that their loved one could be called upon to go help with the Yarnell fire. Today it is still 0% contained. As of yesterday firefighting departments across the state were already thinking about what resources they will send and which people they will ask to volunteer. So emergency responders are grieving, struggling, still continuing to do their jobs and putting themselves into harm’s way.
In a just world such heroes would receive compensation commensurate with their sacrifice. But we know that’s now how the real world is, so our only other option is to show our gratitude individually. To make a donation to help the families of the 20 who lost their lives or were injured, click here. And in future, remember these every day heroes the next time their pay and benefits comes up as an issue in state and local elections. Our taxes do pay for good things and those firefighters are proof of that.
Yesterday I heard on the radio an interview with a representative of a local non-profit, the 100 Club, that helps the law enforcement and firefighting community in such situations. The rep said that it’s not the fact that they died that makes them heroes, but it’s how they lived their lives that does. Truer words were never spoken.