Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Giving the World Just a Bit of Yourself

I'm a former (volunteer) EMT and, at least in the state I was certified in, the training for volunteer and career was the same (although the hours were, of course, far different). This was a time of my life that I still take a lot of pride in, almost 30-years' worth of pride. Actually, there were several members of my immediate family who either volunteered or worked in the EMS field. I stopped riding several years before the COVID nightmare and I can't even imagine the stress of the past year-and-a-half; still have active EMS family who did see COVID and its devastation.


My "other" career, far longer than my EMS involvement, has been that of a writer. In part a novelist (spicy romantic suspense) and in part a journalist. I enjoy the times I get to write about EMS and especially when I must learn something new about the field in order to properly present it. I write a monthly column in an EMS trade paper and occasionally get to cover, or report on, education and events in emergency response. I enjoy those times I get to immerse myself in a class or discussion, I love hearing about new techniques, protocols, findings and more. I guess Emergency Medical Services has remained a part of me and something that I will never emotionally leave.


Both by ZOOM (mostly due to the pandemic), I had the wonderful opportunity to sit in on two different and comprehensive EMS Conferences. It was thrilling for me to listen to the newest advancements and to understand the EMS community a little bit more. I loved hearing about Community Paramedicine, record keeping, stress of the job, and even newer equipment to help make the job "easier". It's true that this time in my life has completely changed me forever — I feel pride, accomplishment, understanding, what it means to be a part of a team, and especially about human emotions from birth to death, quite literally.


EMS was not the first community organization that I ever volunteered for, as a young adult I devoted four-and-a-half years with the Auxiliary Police in the city I grew up in. I felt a lot of pride there too, and again I wasn't the only member of my family; I had followed my dad's lead… and as a bonus, that's where my husband and I found each other! Although in this case the training was nowhere as comprehensive and disciplined as the employed law enforcement, it was still pretty thorough for the duties we were trained to assume. It was a very rewarding experience to give back to the community where I grew up.


While I certainly don't expect everyone else to have had the same passions as I did, I do respect EVERYONE who have given, and possibly still do, of themselves and their time to better their communities and help their neighbors. Can you imagine a world where everyone took a part in making it better, safer, happier? Can you imagine the fulfillment those people feel when they see a child that they tutored make Communion or their Bat Mitzvah? Imagine the happiness of seeing a family hug each other after a daring rescue? Or imagine seeing hope on an old woman's face as you take the time to sit with her as she eats her very welcomed dinner?


Everything someone can do for their neighbors, their country, and their world makes such a difference for both the recipients of their kindness and for the giver himself or herself. If we all found SOMETHING to do, to contribute and to feel pride in doing, it is worth more than any dollar figure or bronze statue. Sometimes it doesn't take a whole lot of effort, an extra grocery bag dropped off at a food pantry, a committee member who makes sure that shut-ins know about useful programs, an interested adult who coaches children in softball… so many things we can do for others and, in the long run, for ourselves.


Kudos to ALL the volunteers. THANK YOU!


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