Whether it's police officers, firefighters, first responders, or 911 dispatchers, many
dedicated Americans work long hours, and often in difficult conditions, to make
sure that when someone's in need, they can help.- Ajit Pai
When I was a little girl, my Mom would tell us to bow our heads and pray whenever an ambulance with lights and sirens went by. We were to remember that there was a real person in danger and they had loved ones who were worried and scared. We lived in a small town in Southwestern Ohio so ambulances with lights and sirens were few and far between. So it wasn’t commonplace to do this, but it made an impact.
I wrote a couple of months ago about my husband’s miraculous recovery after an aortic dissection. A long chain of Good Samaritans, first responders, Lifeflight and medical professionals worked to save him. We have found out since that none of the first responders thought he would make it. Without them, he would not have. The doctors said that “the stars aligned.”
Since then my husband has met with Good Samaritans, the Sacopee Valley Rescue first responders on duty that day and the Lifeflight of Maine crew. He has thanked them for being part of this miracle. He learned a great deal about the day in the life of a first responder. What they see on a daily basis and finally, what they rarely know…how it all turned out. They told him that they almost never know if the person made it or not and if they did make it how they are doing months later. However, they would clearly know many of the bad outcomes – the ones they couldn’t save. My husband was told repeatedly that his coming to thank them alive, well and whole was a gift to them.
After Board meetings, I listen to my husband who is ironically the President of the Sacopee Valley Rescue talk about the need for funding. Funding sources include payments from municipalities, insurance companies, grants and donations. I listened to him, but I failed to recognize the relevance to my personal life. Lifeflight of Maine wasn’t even on my radar. After all, nothing serious will happen to me or mine, right? We are basically healthy people who don’t do anything particularly dangerous to put ourselves at risk.
I think it is important to talk about first responders and the excellent medical care that we have available to us in the State of Maine. We live an hour from Portland, but these first responders and the Lifeflight crew were part of the chain that got my husband from the side of the road at 11:45 am into surgery at 2:00 pm (after a trip to Bridgton Hospital) at Maine Medical Center.
I think it is important to recognize that buried in the taxes we pay, is a line item for emergency services. I have always been more than happy to pay – it is more so now. No one asked me to write this, but it is really important that we do not forget our first responders in both large and small towns.
Our dedicated first responders and emergency service providers do work in difficult circumstances and those circumstances include watching life and death every day. Our local rescue services and Lifeflight of Maine need our donations, our support and our thanks.
Because them, my husband patted our dog Maisy on the head and headed off to work this morning. To all the first responders in the chain - Brandi, Josh, Billy and others whose names I will soon learn, I must say that there are no words to adequately say thank you so I will just say thank you.