Sunday, December 17, 2017

Recognizing Responders

The period from Thanksgiving to the New Year is typically a time for remembering and giving thanks for those special people in our lives. Sometimes those people are close to us, either geographically or by family connection; sometimes they are far removed. As we rightly honor the significant game-changing #MeToo movement, the annual Kennedy Center recognition of lifetime artistic achievements, and all of the excessive award shows, there is one other group that deserves special recognition this year.

In this year of destructive tornadoes and other weather crises, all-consuming forest fires, devastating hurricanes, and killings from mass shootings and terrorism, there in the forefront were always the First Responders. They wore the helmets of the Firefighters working at the fireline, the blue suits of the Police, the white coats and green work clothes of the Doctors and the Nurses, the military uniforms of our Defenders. In addition, First Responders of all kinds drove the ambulances, restored the electricity, directed the traffic, brought in the food and water, set up the first aid tents, organized the charity donations (both goods and cash).

Often, they were just unofficial helpers – neighbors from far and wide who just “had to do something.” They brought their boats or waded into dangerous waters to make rescues of those stranded. They drove the trucks loaded with donated emergency supplies – the basics – from unseen but caring and giving neighbors far away. They carried the wounded away in their pickup trucks turned into improvised emergency vehicles. They put their own life at risk, standing between a killer and his intended victim.

They were typically underpaid if not unpaid, usually unnamed, often unacknowledged. But they are not unappreciated. It was people at their best, people helping people, without regard to politics, race, gender, religion, age – or any of the many other categories that we use to estrange ourselves from each other. This has been a year of extraordinary human and natural disasters, a year when all-to-often we have descended into small-minded thinking and pettiness, unable to have a respectful and thoughtful conversation among our neighbors. Yet the images we saw on our television screens and social media posts affirmed once again our extraordinary better selves, our capacity for good if we just tap into it, and the periodic nobility of the human creature. To all of the anonymous First Responders, we thank you for your services rendered. We thank you for your reminder of the spirit of our human possibilities.

©  2017   Randy Bell    


Anonymous said...

Well said. And well deserved by all who respond to emergencies & disasters.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for calling attention to the good in our society.