To First Responders everywhere:
Foremost, and obviously, I'd like to say thank you. On behalf of all of the people that rely on you, that require your services, that don't think twice about everything you do for us: thank you.
First responders hold a special place in my heart. Pictured above is a success story from my local fire company's facebook page, which reads:
"'They saved my life'. On May 19th, while riding his motorcycle, Mr. Diaz was involved in a head on collision rendering him unconscious and critically injured. Mr. Diaz was in a coma and would have to learn how to walk again. This evening, Mr. Diaz stopped by the station to personally express his sincere gratitude for the immediate response and care he received by our own Michael Gregory and Sean Boyd. We are so proud to have Mike and Sean on our team of professional providers."
Michael Gregory, pictured on the left and better known to our family as Mike, is my cousin. I also have several other family members, and family friends, who have been or do still protect and serve the general population, and I don't think they always get the level of respect and appreciation that they deserve.
Mike, this article was inspired by you. I watch you every day, hear the stories you tell, I see what you encounter, and there are no words I can use to tell you how proud I am, and will always be, of you and your services.
I don't think many of us realize just what being a police officer, EMT, firefighter, or any other type of first responder means. It means 12, 16, 18, sometimes even 24 hours shifts at a time, always on the clock. It means exhaustion. It means showing up to work every day with no idea what to expect, no idea what each new day will bring.
It means saving lives, which makes you feel proud and accomplished, but it also means losing lives, and the guilt and despair that you can never shake.
We admire you so much for everything you do and everything you encounter. It takes a special kind of person to be able to do that every day, to be able to confront the things you come across and the things you see, and still carry out your regular lives.
First responders go through so much that we could never even begin to imagine. They give their all, every minute of every hour of every shift. They encounter horror, tragedy, violence, trauma, and fear every single day. The things they see and the things they have to live with are just that: unimaginable.
But they do it. They do what they have to do, when they have to do it, without fail. They are the people we know we can count on in our time of need, and that is so important.
Thank you for your time. Thank you for your dedication. Thank you for the sacrifices you make in order to take care of us. Thank you for your compassion and your understanding. Thank you for your calmness and your patience in times of trial
So, the next you see someone in uniform while you're getting your morning coffee, go up and say thank you. It's the least we can do in exchange for everything they give to us.
We see you, every day, and we thank you.
The people you serve and protect
(P.S. Tag an EMT you're thankful for, and let's spread the love and gratitude!)