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No money, No glory but they do it anywayPosted Monday, January 26, 2009, at 4:54 PM
My husband and I are both part of a volunteer fire department, Bourbon County District 3 Fire Department. It's a major part of our lives: there's calls, training, meetings and other things to attend, but we both really love it.
Being a member of a fire department has truly changed how I think about things. Before, I never really thought about who responds to emergencies. We're taught that if you pick up the phone and call 911, someone will come. But no one ever tells you about the people that answer that call. They are more then firefighters, they are fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, daughters and sons. They have families that they must leave, day and night, to take care of those in need. It amazes me how much they give up to help others.
The other day, our department was called to an accident. I was working traffic when a vehicle approached the scene. The driver rolled down the window and asked about what was going on. After informing her that there was an accident and that the road was impassable, the driver began to argue with me. At this point, I told the driver that they would have to turn around and go another way. The driver was annoyed by the inconvenience of the accident. They were now going to have to take another route, which would take up extra time out of their day.
The peak part of the conversation was when, after I gave the driver directions to get to their location, the driver asked why we couldn't simply move the fire trucks and ambulances so they could take that road instead of the alternate route.
Wait.. What? Have fire trucks, personnel, an ambulance... everyone move so that this person could continue on their way without the inconvenience of turning around... unbelievable. I politely explained to the driver that this wasn't possible and they went on their way, but not happily. I was left dumbfounded and a little agitated.
This was an accident.. there were numerous firefighters, medical personnel etc., working the scene. This person expected them to stop what they were doing, move and allow them to pass... all so that they would not have to take a different route to their destination. And the grand destination they were headed to... their HAIRDRESSER.
Wait. Stop. Yep, you read that right, stop all the emergency personnel, move the vehicles so that this person might not have to drive a few extra miles to get that fancy hair do. Now you can see why I was frustrated.
I mean, to sympathize, I've been in their situation. I've pulled over for ambulances, emergency vehicles, I've even been late to a few destinations because traffic was held up for an accident. But I have never honestly thought that where I was going was more important than the job they were doing. I mean did this person really not understand what was going on or did they just not care? Whatever their excuse, I just couldn't believe it.
People often take for granted that help is only a few numbers away. Only when the unimaginable happens do they think about the many men and women who spend days, countless hours and minutes, responding to emergencies. Firefighters, police officers, medical personnel, people who spend their lives protecting the lives of others, helping others. Take District 3 for example. District 3 is made up completely of volunteers. These people have lives, they have jobs and families. They answer the call, no matter what it is, day or night. They get up, leave their families in the middle of the night, to go help somebody else, a lot of the time to help someone they do not know.
Why? Because they just do. They don't get paid, there's not any true glory in it. Just the satisfaction that comes from helping somebody else. They aren't rich or famous, but their character, earns them more respect than any amount of money ever can.
I'm so proud that Bourbon County has so many wonderful people working behind the scenes to protect us. I know that if anything ever happens to us, there are a lot of wonderful people out there I can count on.
At the front lines
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I am the Editorial Assistant for The Fort Scott Tribune, where I have been employed since March of 2008. I live in the country near Mapleton, Kan., with my husband and our two children. I graduated from Uniontown High School, Uniontown, Kan., but before attending Uniontown, I moved around several times during my childhood. I love to take photos, write, read and spend time with my family. I am also a member of our local fire department and enjoy attending church with my family and appreciate everything a small town has to offer. I look forward to watching my children grow and spending time with my husband and family while living in the country.