When you say “Hometown Hero” many of us first think about our military personnel who are serving their country through deployment or at home. I can not say “Thank You” enough for the job they do and the sacrifices that they make. I know that the whole family sacrifices in ways that many of us never see. So for your courage, honor and diligence and sacrifice, Thank You!
On a different level I am talking about heroes in our communities. Individuals who willingly raise their hands and say “pick me” to help those in our community. They may just look like one of us out of uniform but they make sacrifices for us as well. Over the next several weeks I want to take the time to recognize and highlight our hometown heroes!
The first set of hometown heroes I would like to recognize are our firefighters. Now, I am not a firefighter. So if a building is burning, I will be running outside and calling for help! Hopefully with clothes on!! Unlike me, first responders (Firefighters, Cops, EMT’s, etc.) come running when chaos ensues. This may be in the form of your house on fire, a car accident or so many other calls they receive. No matter when tragedy happens they’re ready! This means that they are available and come to our rescue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year!
Now, how do I know this? Well, first I have been in a car accident, and second my husband happens to be a firefighter. So on a personal note I have had the privilege of having them rescue me! I can tell you first hand that (in general,we all have our bad days) they are positive, patient and funny people! They see us at our worst… smeared makeup, crying, in pain, embarrassed, drunk, high, naked, and everything in between!
As the wife of a firefighter I can also tell you that they make sacrifices. They may be hungry, thirst, tired, or sore but they will be there! If there is a fire they don’t just put it out, they also stay there for hours, making sure there are no hotspots, and they also do a lot of cleanup. It may be someone’s birthday, or a holiday, or date night, if they are needed they respond! As a first responder plans can be difficult to make because things can change in a moment. If you are a wife, girlfriend, parent, or their child there are sacrifices that are made as well. You are forgiving, patient, supportive, understanding and resilient. Some people ask “Why do you do it”? For those anal planners out there it may not make any sense. For othes it makes perfect sense! Over the years I have asked my husband that very same question and his response has been “…because it is so rewarding”! He gets to help people at their worst moments and gets to help them, even if it’sjust for a short time.
So how much do we really know about our firefighters?
In the United States in each state; more specifically our counties, cities and towns we have firefighters. In big cities such as New York City, Denver, Seattle, and Miami, firefighters have a large community presence and are paid. However; in smaller communities we also have firefighters but they serve the entire county not just our town. For example our local fire district is run by the county and they provide service for an area that is 330 square miles. Not only do these departments cover large areas many times whole departments are volunteers. This means that depending on the area, firefighters may receive a small stipend (a few hundred dollars a year) or a small amount per shift (much less than minimum wage). According to the National Volunteer Fire Council there are about one million firefighters working each year and 73% of those are volunteers. So how many of us would be willing to give our time, and ourselves to a stressful job, with long hours, and not much pay?
So the next time you start rambling on about how firefighters get paid to sit on their rump think about it… They are willing to risk their life for yours 24/7/365!
Are you willing to make that sacrifice?
So, if I haven’t already stated this I am very thankful for firefighters and their families! I am proud to be the wife of a firefighter, and a friend of many firefighters both paid and volunteers alike!For without them the next time I have an emergency who would I call, Ghostbusters? I don’t think so!
Be sure you don’t forget to say thank you and let them know you appreciate each and every one of them! If you are really brave and think you can do it…talk to your local fire district and see if they take volunteers and how to apply! I DARE YOU!