Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Dispatch, Paramedic and Fire personnel
First, I want to say another thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance.
As I write this, Patriot Day is less than two weeks away. It is a day or remembrance for what we lost in the attacks on 9/11. Just under 3000 people lost their lives that day. 343 firefighters, 71 officers, 8 private EMT’s and a K9 gave the “last full measure of devotion” that day and over 100 more since then due to some type of 9/11 related illness.
In today’s environment, things are getting more and more tense. We appear to be getting more and more divided and more and more hateful. And it would be easy, almost natural in fact, to let this dictate what we do. It would be easy to allow all the hate and division to weigh on us. We can let the death threats, the physical attacks and the hate of some to rule us. When Firefighters are assaulted for trying to put out a fire started by an arsonist, a EMT is attacked just trying to give people CPR, not to mention the attacks against our police, it would be real easy to just give in, or give up. But we shouldn’t. I’m not saying it’s not hard. I’m saying we should fight that urge. I’m saying that we keep gearing up, and suiting up, and never giving up. Because it only takes one. What do I mean?
- One More Person – Sure the last ones may have been tough. But the very next person you come in contact with could be the one you save. YOU could be the one keeping them alive until they get to the doctor, who comes back to tell you how much that means to them. You could be that voice in the dark times that pulls them through tragedy.
- One More Try – Maybe the next person was thinking about ending their lives, and because YOU cared enough to try, the decided to give life and hope another change.
- One More Report – Maybe an act or something you say on your next call helps a citizen decide to stop their a bad habit, turn from a life on the edge of the law, stop smoking, stop making bad life choices. I know sometimes we get into the rut of thinking that no one can change when we deal with the same people a lot.
- One More Day – Sure today may have been bad, or even horrible. But tomorrow CAN be different.
I know that sometimes we try not to hope, because let’s be honest, sometimes the good thing never happens. But if we give up now, we might miss out on what could be one of the best days of our careers or even lives. I’ll leave you with this:
Once upon a time there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day he was walking along the shore. As he looked down the beach, he saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself to think of someone who would dance to the day. So he began to walk faster to catch up. As he got closer, he saw that it was a young man and the young man wasn’t dancing, but instead he was reaching down to the shore, picking up something and very gently throwing it into the ocean. As he got closer he called out,”Good morning! What are you doing?”
The young man paused, looked up and replied, “Throwing starfish in the ocean.”
“I guess I should have asked, why are you throwing starfish in the ocean?”
“The sun is up and the tide is going out. And if I don’t throw them in they’ll die.”
“But, young man, don’t you realize that there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it. You can’t possibly make a difference!”
The young man listened politely. Then bent down, picked another starfish and threw it into the sea, past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”
Your next person could be “that one”. So if you find yourself struggling, ask someone you trust, ask a Chaplain, ask that trusted co-worker, or you can always email or call me.
I’ve said it in every email. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.