In our county, emergency personnel are generally volunteers. The EMS is paid/full time, Sheriff and local PD are paid/full time, but the firefighters and rescue are volunteers, dispatched by pager. The tones dropped for a cardiac arrest, CPR in progress, in the outskirts of the county. Now my county is rural, primarily (by surface area) farmland. The ambulance was called out, as well as the County Seat Fire Department (Hereinafter, CSFD).
I heard EMS acknowledge, and the duty fire chief as well. He (the chief) directed that the firefighters respond without him, as he was a couple of miles from the scene and would respond directly.
Dispatch then filled in the dispatch information, beyond the address. A 70-something male had collapsed. CPR was in progress. He was vomiting, and the family was clearing his mouth as best they could. A couple of minutes later (likely that seemed like days, to the folks on the scene, performing CPR on one of their family!), the fire chief called out on the scene “Chief on scene with one firefighter. Sheriff on scene. Dispatch, roll one engine for manpower.”
So, let’s “dolly back”, and consider this. With the possible exception of the deputy (who might have responded, off duty, from home in his patrol car), all these folks were snug in their own homes, fat, dumb and happy, savoring the anniversary of The Birth of Our Saviour, as well as immersing themselves in the excitement of the children at All! The! Presents! they had received.
They carry pagers because, well, that’s what they do. More likely than not, they do not see themselves as heroic, or making sacrifices, because, after all, in most of America (hell, I suspect in most of the world), the men and women performing these jobs simply see themselves as doing what needs to be done, because they are able to do so.
And therefore, when the pager alerted them, they grabbed their coats, put on their boots, and left their warm and happy homes, heading to somebody else’s home, someplace where, as Chief Dennis Compton of Mesa, AZ Fire once described it, “We are responding to somebody’s worst day of their life”.
So, as I imagine it, the duty chief was enjoying a Christmas with his family, the tones dropped, and off he went. Before he could get out of the door, one of his sons, or maybe a son in law, (or daughter or daughter in law, here in the 21st century) said something like, “Hey, Dad! Hold up a second! I’m taking that call with you!”
These folks voluntarily immersed themselves in another family’s tragedy. Strove to hold the line, to reverse the evident course. Went to work on Christmas.
When the firefighter came on the radio requesting the sheriff department’s (volunteer!) Victim Support Team, I could call that play. I do not know if I teared up at the family’s terror, at their loss, at the fact that forever more Christmas would not hold happy childhood memories, but, rather, would be “the day grandpa died”, or if I teared up thinking of the folks who, simply “doing their jobs”, had left their warm homes in response to some stranger’s plea for help.
But, I wept.
Please, give a thought to those who respond to those calls, today and every day of the year, all over the world.
And offer a prayer on behalf of those they go to rescue.
Against my will, I have been aware of the news reports of many, many protests over the circumstances surrounding death of George Floyd.
Against my will, I have been subjected to the noxious virtue signaling malarkey from many quarters, braying about how anti racist they are (“acta, non verba!”).
Again, against my will, I have been subjected to the chant of racist, violent police being The! Single! Greatest! Threat! to black men, In! Da! World! (notwithstanding the 24 fatal shootings in Chicago just the weekend of May 30-31)
( see https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/6/1/21275944/chicago-weekend-shootings-most-violent-weekend-2020-may-29-june-1)
I request that we all keep in mind that we are all fallen, all imperfect, all in need of improvement. Police are part of that set. And, like some of our neighbors, some officers do felonious things. Mr. Chauvin appears due to get his day in court, which, should things work out as they are supposed to, will bring to light evidence supporting, or refuting, the cloud of assertions surrounding these events.
Tl: DR summary: Lotsa heat, little light, Facts will come out, and theories and bullshit will be tamped down.
Now, that I have stepped off of my soapbox, let’s hear a story of “Protect And Serve Policing”, of the sort that I have seen repeatedly myself.
Observant readers will note that this is a re-run.
Patient Care Is Everywhere! (small town life)I had the opportunity, a couple of years ago, to speak with an police officer who personified the
“Protect and Serve” mindset. An elderly, very confused gentleman, with a baseline mentation
deficit, was brought in to the hospital at the instigation of the officer. Having been dispatched
for a "welfare check", he found this soul confused, and in the officer's estimation, "looked sick."
We evaluated the patient, and tried to (start to) fix his medical issues. While waiting for the lab
results, the officer and I chatted. The officer related to me that he was an officer, “not for the
attorney with a 150,000 dollar car and a nice house: he doesn’t need me. That guy, over there:
he depends on me to do the right thing. He is why I took that oath.” Once we had finished caring for the gentleman, and were ready to discharge him, another
officer from this same (yeah, rural) department came and took him home, seeing him safely
into his apartment.Another occasion, same rural police department, same officer. This time he accompanied an
EMS transport. This soul was in custody, so the officer parked himself outside the room, to
keep an eye on his charge. During their stay, in the room across the hallway, was a child, who
was very dubious about the entire "going to the hospital" thing. This officer was approached by
the fearful child, who momentarily had his fears overcome with curiosity about a live-and-in-
person police officer. This officer was very engaged with the child, producing wide eyes
interest as the boy lectured the officer on the ins and outs of frogs, and minutiae of their lives in
the wild. He (the officer) offered a few frog insights of his own, and the two of them had an
animated conversation there in my ED hallway. The rest of my encounter with the boy was made considerably smoother, when the officer
asked the boy, "Are you behaving for my friend Reltney? Yeah, he may be a doctor (well, a PA
at this point, but, ya know...), but he's pretty nice. Give him a chance, wontcha?"My point? There has been come conversation of “Officer as social worker” becoming part of the
police toolbox. This theme is not new, although it used to be called "walking the beat, and
knowing your beat". Some officers, who are each a credit to their profession, have been
employing that tool for a long time. And, in some regards, to steal a phrase from the American
Nurses' Association, "Patient Care is Everywhere!" Some of the practitioners are not formally
licensed in health professions. And, some of us simply see it as being a good neighbor.
While my blog is commonly about lighthearted things, irritants, and such like fluff, occasionally I have to pause, and honor better folks than I. This post, which I placed last year, is here again. Haerter and Yale are emblematic of those who go in harm’s way, on behalf of their buddies, on behalf of people that they will never know.
Those MEN (and, nowadays, WOMEN) need to hold a place in our hearts.
This is Memorial Day 2020. This the day set aside, to contemplate, to remember, those who have stood in harm’s way, have said to Evil, “you shall not pass!”, and have died so doing.
Today we recall those immortalized in Francis Scott Keyes’ fourth stanza, opening,
“Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!”
Then, read the story. Lifted directly from Business Insider. This–THIS–is how MEN face DUTY. I pray that, should the need arise, I can be worthy to stand in their presence. Corporal Jonathan Yale, Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter. This is what we remember, on Memorial Day.
via Marines Magazine
Five years ago, two Marines from two different walks of life who had literally just met were told to stand guard in front of their outpost’s entry control point.
I had heard the story many times, personally. But until today I had never heard Marine Lt. Gen. John Kelly’s telling of it to a packed house in 2010. Just four days following the death of his own son in combat, Kelly eulogized two other sons in an unforgettable manner.
Two years ago when I was the Commander of all U.S. and Iraqi forces, in fact, the 22nd of April 2008, two Marine infantry battalions, 1/9 “The Walking Dead,” and 2/8 were switching out in Ramadi. One battalion in the closing days of their deployment going home very soon, the other just starting its seven-month combat tour.
Two Marines, Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter, 22 and 20 years old respectively, one from each battalion, were assuming the watch together at the entrance gate of an outpost that contained a makeshift barracks housing 50 Marines.
The same broken down ramshackle building was also home to 100 Iraqi police, also my men and our allies in the fight against the terrorists in Ramadi, a city until recently the most dangerous city on earth and owned by Al Qaeda. Yale was a dirt poor mixed-race kid from Virginia with a wife and daughter, and a mother and sister who lived with him and he supported as well. He did this on a yearly salary of less than $23,000. Haerter, on the other hand, was a middle class white kid from Long Island.
They were from two completely different worlds. Had they not joined the Marines they would never have met each other, or understood that multiple America’s exist simultaneously depending on one’s race, education level, economic status, and where you might have been born. But they were Marines, combat Marines, forged in the same crucible of Marine training, and because of this bond they were brothers as close, or closer, than if they were born of the same woman.
The mission orders they received from the sergeant squad leader I am sure went something like: “Okay you two clowns, stand this post and let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.” “You clear?” I am also sure Yale and Haerter then rolled their eyes and said in unison something like: “Yes Sergeant,” with just enough attitude that made the point without saying the words, “No kidding sweetheart, we know what we’re doing.” They then relieved two other Marines on watch and took up their post at the entry control point of Joint Security Station Nasser, in the Sophia section of Ramadi, al Anbar, Iraq.
A few minutes later a large blue truck turned down the alley way—perhaps 60-70 yards in length—and sped its way through the serpentine of concrete jersey walls. The truck stopped just short of where the two were posted and detonated, killing them both catastrophically. Twenty-four brick masonry houses were damaged or destroyed. A mosque 100 yards away collapsed. The truck’s engine came to rest two hundred yards away knocking most of a house down before it stopped.
Our explosive experts reckoned the blast was made of 2,000 pounds of explosives. Two died, and because these two young infantrymen didn’t have it in their DNA to run from danger, they saved 150 of their Iraqi and American brothers-in-arms.
When I read the situation report about the incident a few hours after it happened I called the regimental commander for details as something about this struck me as different. Marines dying or being seriously wounded is commonplace in combat. We expect Marines regardless of rank or MOS to stand their ground and do their duty, and even die in the process, if that is what the mission takes. But this just seemed different.
The regimental commander had just returned from the site and he agreed, but reported that there were no American witnesses to the event—just Iraqi police. I figured if there was any chance of finding out what actually happened and then to decorate the two Marines to acknowledge their bravery, I’d have to do it as a combat award that requires two eye-witnesses and we figured the bureaucrats back in Washington would never buy Iraqi statements. If it had any chance at all, it had to come under the signature of a general officer.
I traveled to Ramadi the next day and spoke individually to a half-dozen Iraqi police all of whom told the same story. The blue truck turned down into the alley and immediately sped up as it made its way through the serpentine. They all said, “We knew immediately what was going on as soon as the two Marines began firing.” The Iraqi police then related that some of them also fired, and then to a man, ran for safety just prior to the explosion.
All survived. Many were injured … some seriously. One of the Iraqis elaborated and with tears welling up said, “They’d run like any normal man would to save his life.”
What he didn’t know until then, he said, and what he learned that very instant, was that Marines are not normal. Choking past the emotion he said, “Sir, in the name of God no sane man would have stood there and done what they did.”
“No sane man.”
“They saved us all.”
What we didn’t know at the time, and only learned a couple of days later after I wrote a summary and submitted both Yale and Haerter for posthumous Navy Crosses, was that one of our security cameras, damaged initially in the blast, recorded some of the suicide attack. It happened exactly as the Iraqis had described it. It took exactly six seconds from when the truck entered the alley until it detonated.
You can watch the last six seconds of their young lives. Putting myself in their heads I supposed it took about a second for the two Marines to separately come to the same conclusion about what was going on once the truck came into their view at the far end of the alley. Exactly no time to talk it over, or call the sergeant to ask what they should do. Only enough time to take half an instant and think about what the sergeant told them to do only a few minutes before: ” … let no unauthorized personnel or vehicles pass.”
The two Marines had about five seconds left to live. It took maybe another two seconds for them to present their weapons, take aim, and open up. By this time the truck was half-way through the barriers and gaining speed the whole time. Here, the recording shows a number of Iraqi police, some of whom had fired their AKs, now scattering like the normal and rational men they were—some running right past the Marines. They had three seconds left to live.
For about two seconds more, the recording shows the Marines’ weapons firing non-stop…the truck’s windshield exploding into shards of glass as their rounds take it apart and tore in to the body of the son-of-a-bitch who is trying to get past them to kill their brothers—American and Iraqi—bedded down in the barracks totally unaware of the fact that their lives at that moment depended entirely on two Marines standing their ground. If they had been aware, they would have know they were safe … because two Marines stood between them and a crazed suicide bomber.
The recording shows the truck careening to a stop immediately in front of the two Marines. In all of the instantaneous violence Yale and Haerter never hesitated. By all reports and by the recording, they never stepped back. They never even started to step aside. They never even shifted their weight. With their feet spread shoulder width apart, they leaned into the danger, firing as fast as they could work their weapons. They had only one second left to live.
The truck explodes. The camera goes blank. Two young men go to their God.
Not enough time to think about their families, their country, their flag, or about their lives or their deaths, but more than enough time for two very brave young men to do their duty … into eternity. That is the kind of people who are on watch all over the world tonight—for you.
The number of projected deaths, when all is done, is not THE PROBLEM. At north of a million people (that’s one million, or more fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandfathers and grandmothers. And aunts, uncles and husbands and wives.), that is certainly bad enough. Particularly if someone you love is enumerated in that group. Life changing. Reality altering. Leaves a hole in your heart, your life, that you cannot imagine, unless you have lived through it.
BUT! THAT is not THE PROBLEM. THE PROBLEM, is the follow on effects, as a tsunami of ill inundates our already (on a good day) marginal health “system”, that it is in no way prepared for.
“Just in time” inventory systems will not bite us in the ass. Nope, not at all. Rather, the shortfalls and absent supplies will make us yearn for simply being bitten in the ass. Indeed, the “bite us in the ass” problem will more closely resemble the “bite in the ass” one might receive from a hungry great white shark, or, maybe, a ravenous tiger.
Ragarding the magnitude of THE PROBLEM, you need honest numbers, and then you NEED TO UNDERSTAND THOSE NUMBERS! See Lawdog’s blog, here , for an explanation of testing error (false positives/negatives, and the implications thereof).
See Aesop’s articles, here, for his description of the second order effects, and how it will make a clusterf…er, HUG! look like a picnic with your Bible study group. I do not know about timing, but, based on 30 + years as an ER nurse, and a dozen as a PA, and several as a medic, well, his assessment of effects is certainly defensible. I pray he is wrong, but I do NOT believe that he is wrong. (While you are there, read his other posts, about the follow on effects, about how this has been mishandled since, oh, 20 or more years ago, and about missed opportunities).
(and, READ HIS COUNSEL [in other posts] ABOUT PREPAREDNESS, BOTH LOGISTIC AND TRAINING! AND TAKE IT TO HEART!)
Good fortune to you all, and WASH YOUR DAMNED HANDS! NOW, DO IT AGAIN! AND AGAIN!
I turned the car on, powered on the amateur radio, and set the radio to one of the several Ham Radio repeaters in the area of the park. TDW-Mark 1 wandered over to see what her husband was up to.
What I was up to, was taking notes on the “weather net” in progress. There were reports of rotation on the observed thunderstorms, and occasional reports of funnel clouds. TDW-Mark 1 decided that it would be clever to get all the clean up done, and everything put away. She corralled the kids, and set them to work.
One of the other campers wandered over, likely thinking that I had found “The Game” on the radio, and appeared surprised that I did NOT have the broadcast radio on, in my vehicle.
“Whatcha listening to ?”
“The local radio amateurs are weather spotting, and calling their reports. Some of them have seen funnel clouds, others have seen rotation in some of the thunderstorms that they have seen.”
“What’s that mean?”
“That it is very likely that one of these storms may touch down, and the folks near there will have a tornado to call their very own!”
“That sounds like it could be bad!”
“Yep. That could be very bad.”
Right around this point in the tutorial on Weather Spotting In America, And Amateur Radio’s Role Therein, TDW-Mark 1 returned, both to inform me that our campsite had been battened down (or, as battened down as a pop-up camper was going to get, anyhow), and inquire as to what was my brilliant contingency plan in the event that all our little family was to be offered a trip to Oz, by Thor himself.
I had noticed, upon our arrival, that the bathrooms appeared to be very substantially built. Fine brick structures seemed well suited, in my estimation, to the task of sheltering my family from the storm. I so instructed TDW-Mark 1. “If it appears that we are going to get heavy weather, we will hit the showers, select a toilet in the middle of the building, and call it home for as long as necessary.”
“Any sign that things are heading our way?”
“Presently all the funnels, and all the rotation are to our east, and northeast, so we are unlikely to catch any of it. If they close the weather net in the next several hours, we ought to be clear.”
The other camper, overhearing all this, began to turn his head, just like at a tennis match, goggle eyed at our seemingly tranquil acceptance of the potential of holing up in a toilet against some tornado or other. “Aren’t you guys scared at all by this?”
TDW-Mark 1 had his answer. “What good would that do? He’s a medic and ER nurse, I’m an ER nurse, he’s keeping an ear on the weather for us. Tell you what: keep an eye on our campsite. If you see us scurrying to the bathrooms, gather your family and join us, because it is unlikely that we all will catch the trots simultaneously!”
The look on his face was nearly priceless.
Even better? The fact that we heard the Skywarn Net stand down, around a hour later.
One Labor Day weekend, TDW-Mk I decided we ought to go camping. I was off, the kids were off, and we could all get out for one more weekend before the grind of school and autumn activities sucked us in.
She had reserved a site in the unimproved area of one of the northern state parks, a “rustic’ site. That meant that we got to carry water from one of several faucets serving the campgrounds, as well as go to the bathroom in one of several pit toilets.
The wimmin folk were not favorably impressed.
We were the only ones in our section of the campground as we pulled in, which was of no concern to us. We set up our pop up camper, cooked dinner, cleaned up, and took a walk.
Once we were back at out site, we were inside the camper, organizing for bed time when another party arrived at a site, 2 or 3 away from our own. They were young-ish, and seemed high spirited. Whatever, live and let live.
So, several hours later, TDW and I were chatting quietly, when the noise from the neighbor site picked up considerably. I peeked from our window, and noted what appeared to be bottles of some sort of alcohol in hand, and our “neighbors” sounded to be involved in some sort of loud, animated, an not altogether amicable discussion.
When we heard the sounds of yelling, and breaking glass, I awakened the kids and had them lay on the floor of the camper. TDW called county dispatch on her cell phone, and I settled in next to the door of the camper, curtain ajar and Colt in hand.
One of the party, it appeared, felt the need to do some sort of work on the mirror of one of the trucks, and this seemed to involve attempting to wrench the mirror off of the door without using any tools. That maneuver elicited yet MORE heated words, and things were escalating, which made it convenient that that was the moment that the park ranger, a couple of sheriff’s vehicles, and a city cop arrived.
One of the officers approached out camper, and I took that opportunity to secure the pistol beneath one of the mattresses, seating TDW thereon.
I told the officer what I had heard, and seen, and he assured me that for this party, their camping weekend was over. “We’ll simply sit here, and watch them pack up and depart. We’ll circulate through several times over the rest of the night, and, if they return, they’ll sleep in the sheriff’s office. In the back.”
Then he added, “If you need us, call us back. Have a nice weekend!”
ago, and far away, we lived Up North. We had three children, one of
whom was still an infant. TDW Mark I had decided that we needed
pets, and so she brought home two Labrador puppies.
the wisdom that comes with hindsight, with two working parents, two
primary school aged children, and an infant, two Labrador puppies
might not have seemed to be a particularly good idea. It seems that,
with the distractions present daily in such a household, the dogs do
not properly learn the chain of command. In particular, the part of
the chain of command that goes, “The little people are NOT to be
snarled at, nipped at, or cornered. Under ANY circumstances!”
afternoon, I was working in the yard, the two oldest kids were
playing outside, and somehow the dogs got out. I learned this, when
I heard snarling from the dogs, and yelling from my kids.
an aside, nowadays, I put on my pistol, knives, and spare magazines,
before I put on my shoes. I live in a very quiet, nice little town,
but, well, between Da City, and the tales I have related here (and am
about to relate here), I have grown to loathe when I do not have the
tools I need RIGHT FUCKING NOW!
reached this epiphany, as I rounded the corner of the house and
observed the two dogs backing my children into a corner, snarling.
Each dog was, at this point, around 60 pounds, and outweighed my
pushed my way between my kids and the dogs, and pushed the kids
behind me, as I faced down the dogs. I waved my arms, snarled, my own
self, and began to harangue the dogs, slowly advancing on them.
You DARE to threaten my kids! I will cut your miserable throats,
I’ll crush you like insects, I will break your necks, and toss your
cadavers to the buzzards! Don’t you FUCKING DARE snarl at my
children! I will field dress your sorry asses, and toss the gut pile
into the fucking road! Try me, motherfuckers! TRY ME, you sackless
pieces of shit! YOU-DO-NOT-DARE-TO-THREATEN-MY-CHILDREN! I will OWN
your sorry asses, and put such a hurt on you that dogs, everywhere,
will whimper and cross the road, lest they step upon my children’s
shadows! I fucking DARE you, to cross me!”
all the excitement likely had penetrated the house, and TDW Mark I
came a’running, big kitchen knife in hand, to sweep up the children,
and arm me. Once they noted two adults, and, likely, from the yelling
and screaming I was emitting, figured that Bad Things were pending,
they ran off at a lope.
may wonder what my plan was? Well, besides the fact that I decided
promptly that I was NOT about to watch dogs attack my children I
really had no plan at all. It had occurred to me that I was right
handed, and, in extremis, should I jam my left forearm to the back of
the lead dog’s mouth, and wrap my right arm around his neck, if I
could push away with my left arm as hard as I could, and pull back as
hard as I could with my right, I just might snap the dog’s neck.
after reflecting, 15 rounds of XTP hollow point in 9 mm might be just
a bit more effective.
A long, long time ago, in a county very far away, I was a nursing supervisor. I had migrated into supervision after several years as an ER nurse.
afternoon I arrived at work, and the offgoing supervisor reported
that a gentleman had been brought in and admitted for his heart
attack. Now, in these far away days, there were no angioplasties, no
stents. There was no TPA, no other thrombolytics (“clot busters”).
Indeed, the state of the art, outside of referral hospitals, was
oxygen, hydration, rest, aspirin, and pain control. We had THAT, in
a couple of days later, one of the CCU nurses took me aside, and
informed me that this guy was, to employ her own professional and
finely tuned appraisal, “acting kinda squirrely”.
developed that the attending physician determined that this soul was
both having/recovering from a MI (heart attack), but, in addition,
was a florid alcoholic, and was entering into DTs. Like, classic,
textbook, tachycardic, hallucinating, writhing, pre-seizure
to make everything just nice, the internal med doc that the
cardiologist consulted did not believe in using benzodiazepines for
alcohol withdrawal. (that would be medications like Valium or
Librium, useful both for the sedating effects, as well as their
efficacy in protecting the patient from convulsions that might be
lethal.) No, he insisted in using antipsychotics, which weren’t
altogether effective in addressing his twitching nor his
he survived all this excitement, and, eventually (like, 4-6 weeks
worth of eventually) was ready to go home.
discharge planner discovered that our new friend was a resident of
Florida which we, in The Unamed Flyover State, were not anywhere
near. He had wrecked his vehicle in the initial confusion, and
therefore had no vehicle to get him home. In any event, what with
his MI, and his lengthy stay in Thorazine Land, was in no sort of
shape to (a) drive home to Florida, nor (b) master the intellectual
challenges inherent in navigating the interstate home, even if he was
strong enough to physically do so, Which he was not.
investigations revealed that none of his family was in any sort of
position to happily drive up here and retrieve him (which of course
begs the question of what was he doing here, with his pleasantly
confused self, something like 1200 miles from home? And alone?)
once the dust settled, he was still our problem, and The Suits
determined that springing for a flight home would end the financial
drain that he represented, since no insurance company in the Western
World would pay for him to reside at the Grand Hotel De Our Little
Hospital, once his medical need had resolved. I did mention that he
was squirrely, right? Well, our discharge planner hypothesized that
his heart attack, and DTs, had trampled his previously marginally
sufficient coping mechanisms, and he was, now, fully senile.
Therefore, putting him up, unsupervised, in a hotel, would not work
out at all well.
the plan was laid. Our discharge planner purchased a plane ticket.
He had specifically purchased a ticket on a nonstop flight,
determining that there would be fewer opportunities for him to wander
off, and get lost Ghawd Alone knew where. Then, she dumped it in my
lap. I called A Competing Ambulance Service, and spoke to a
have this guy, and we are going to fly him home. He is not
altogether there, and so he needs both supervision, and a chain of
custody. The flight is at 5 pm, so I want him at the gate at 4 pm
sharp. I want your crew to physically deliver him to the boarding
gate, physically observe him belted into his seat, and obtain a
signature as a receipt from the flight attendant who seats him. Can
you do all that?”
You just have to set it up with the airline. OK?”
I’ll set it up, and call you back.”
I called the airline. I spoke with a supervisor, and laid out my
problem, and my view of the solution. “Sure, no problem. We can do
that. Anything else?”
Can you get a receipt for my guy, from the folks who pick him up,
and then call me with the fact of safe arrival, please? Then,
mailing us the receipt would be wonderful!”
can do. Gimme your name and mailing address!”
called the Competing Ambulance Service back, and brought the
supervisor up to speed. “Oh”, I added, “One more thing. We’ll
hand the plane ticket to your medic, and also hand him or her the
chart. That HAS to go with him, and is part of the chain of custody
was the response.
on the appointed day, I was at the nurses station awaiting The
Competing Ambulance Service crew. Once they arrived, I reviewed all
the foregoing. Both medics nodded, and one opined, “Yeah, that’s
all according the the briefing we got from the supervisor. Where’s
the chart, and the ticket?”
charge nurse handed both items over. The medic made a show of
placing the ticked into the inside pocket of his jacket, turning so
both his partner as well as the nurse and I could see it settled
deeply into it. His partner tucked the chart beneath the pillow, and
they were off!
1630, I got paged to pick up a phone call. “Mcfee!” was my
Mcfee, this is Bob from The Competing Ambulance Service. My crew
just radioed me to let me know that your patient is on the flight,
seatbelt secured, and they have a signature form one of the flight
attendants. So far, so good. That attendant has you phone number,
and will phone you once he has been handed over to family at the
as promised, around 1930, the crew from The Competing Ambulance
Service arrived, hunted me down, and handed me a copy of their trip
sheet, prominently featuring the name, signature, and employee ID
number of the flight attendant accepting Mr. Man for his flight.
frost my cake of WIN!, the next day the night shift supervisor
relayed via days, that our patient had successfully, and
uneventfully, been handed off to his family at his destination.
Why do MEN (and, nowadays, more and frequently, WOMEN) willingly go in harm’s way?
Why do folks bunker up, suit up, gun up, whatever, and run toward the sounds of trouble?
Counter Jockey has gunned up, and sought out the source of those sounds. As have thousands and thousands of others.
Yesterday was The Eleventh of September in the Year of Our lord 2019. Eighteen years ago, 343 members of the FDNY died, doing their duty. 60 police officers lost their lives. 8 EMS personnel died, not employees of the City of New York.
They died attempting to save some of the 2977 people who would wind up dying that day.
“Duty” is the simple answer, and we all are, or ought to be, thankful for our neighbors who see their duty, accept their duty, and pursue their duty.
But what makes someone see such a thing as “My duty”?
What makes someone say, “So help me God.” ? Those who have so sworn, know. Someone has to stare down predators, and say, in effect, “You stop, right here, right now.” Someone has to stand, and hold that line. Otherwise, the dependents behind those stalwarts will lie vulnerable to the heartless. And, those who have selected Duty, will not allow that.
343 members of the FDNY died, that beautiful autumn day, doing their duty. What sort of folks run into a burning building, a building which had already been sized up be one of their own with the prediction, “Some of us are gonna die, today”?
So, here’s what I leave you all with. Look for your duty. Do your duty. try not to flinch, try not to step back. Because, you, and I, all of us, are standing in the shadows of Great People. Imagine, if you will, that they are cheering us on, looking over our shoulders, and expecting that we will not falter. Because, they have left us a legacy of honor, of Duty, of doing their jobs, that make it possible for all of us to be here, today, to have the opportunities that we enjoy. Let us not let them down.
Regarding that day an entire generation ago, let us tell of the Heroes who raced into a building, knowing it was to collapse. Let us tell our children of the Heroes, civilians all, who sacrificed their own lives, that others would not die at the hands of the heartless. Let us tell each other of the Heroes who dwell among us, unknown to us, perhaps unknown to themselves, who will rise up to the demands they face, and risk all to save another. Let us measure ourselves against them, and be grateful they dwell among us. Let us hope we can measure up, should our time come. God Bless those who stand in harm’s way, on our behalf.