They don’t do it for the glory; they do it because they care. We are lucky they do.
“They” are the emergency workers in every community – the firefighters, the ambulance attendants, the police, hospital staff, and search and rescue personnel.
What many would consider “above and beyond,” they simply consider their duty.
As we watch the world unfold from the comfort of our homes, or listen to developments over a scanner, they are the ones making a difference.
And, despite their best efforts, it does not always have a happy ending. Last Friday in Courtenay was a prime example.
A community was shattered, a family devastated, and many people were left wondering what they could have done differently.
There were debriefings within all the groups, discussions were had, reassurances made. But at the end of it, many of those who helped returned to their own homes with an empty feeling – their own feeling of loss.
Chances are, they did not know the mother and son they were trying to save. It didn’t matter. It never matters. They did everything in their power to resolve a desperate situation, in the most positive manner possible. Sometimes, despite all efforts, the result is grim.
Depression among emergency workers is a hot topic right now. Is it any wonder? The trauma experienced by all those involved with the rescue operation last week cannot be properly explained in a 350-word column.
And yet, should a call come out tomorrow, many of those same, brave men and women will answer it, knowing that their training and experience could mean the difference between tragedy and jubilation.
Last year in Cumberland, after five days of searching for a missing senior, a miracle happened and there was jubilation.
Last week ended in tragedy. There are no guarantees when the call comes.
Heroes do not wear hockey jerseys, or football helmets. Heroes put their own lives aside for the well-being of others – like so many did last Friday.
In a perfect world there is no need for heroes. We have many heroes in the Comox Valley. We are grateful to every one of them.