Being involved in the emergency services field in Rutland County for four years as an emergency medical technician (EMT), I've seen a lot in my 25 years of life - perhaps sometimes more than anyone could imagine.
There are emergency calls that shock you and bring streams of tears. There are calls in which you witness the joys of life. There are calls that never ever leave your mind, body and soul.
The Rutland Tribune has taken on the task of featuring every fire and rescue squad in Rutland County during the 2008-09 period; it's a way of celebrating all the area squads and their volunteers (and professionals) as they serve our communities. As a reporter, I've been commissioned with the task of writing these features. And even though I am a writer, I can't fully articulate what it's really like when it's time to respond to an emergency call.
Thankfully, I came across a wonderful essay a few years ago penned by an anonymous writer; it shows how and why local fire, police and rescue personnel respond to calls on a 24/7 basis.
As we celebrate the holiday season, please remember those who stand ready to help strangers at a moment's notice. Take a moment to be thankful for our local volunteers and professionals - because your life, and the lives of those you love, can change in an instant.
"I Wish You Could See"
"I wish you could see the sadness of a business man as his livelihood goes up in flames, or that family returning home, only to find their house and belongings damaged or lost for good.
"I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning beroom for trapped children, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.