From the Center 1-4-17

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Time and time again, I am astonished at the amount of men and women we have in this county that leave their families and the comfort of their home to help others, most of the time, complete strangers.

That was the case Sunday. It was a heartbreaking scene. When I arrived at the accident on Hwy. 84, I was amazed at the number of law enforcement officers, volunteer firemen and emergency personnel present. After all, it was a Sunday…at naptime…and a holiday.

I saw compassion, empathy, and grace. They didn’t ask, they didn’t say no, they just jumped when they heard help was needed. Even the sheriff’s wife was there and pulled their personal truck up to offer a victim’s distraught family member a place to rest.

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They don’t get the thanks, appreciation, or glory that they deserve. And I suspect that’s just the way they want it. Because that’s certainly not why they do it.

Since taking this job at the Headlight, I often question my choice to remain here since, my degrees are in counseling psychology. It has taken three years for the light bulb moment.

In the middle of a wet highway, holding a strangers hand while she called her husband to tell him of his mother’s passing, I knew.

She came to me later and hugged me. She said, “I don’t even know your name.” I replied, “You don’t need to know my name, just that I love you and I was in the right place at the right time.” For the first time, in that moment, I became a volunteer fireman, a sheriff’s deputy, a police officer, and an EMT. I knew what it was, driving them to get out of a warm bed at 2 a.m., or up from the dinner table, or to miss their favorite TV show.

It was a fulfillment I had never felt. I knew it was something I would wholeheartedly do over and over without being paid a dime. Which is exactly what most of these men and women get paid.

When I got back to my car, where my girls were watching this entire nightmare play out, one of them asked me, “Mom, how do you know that woman?” I said, “I don’t.” She said, “But I saw you tell her you loved her, you must know her.” Wow. In the midst of me learning a lesson, I taught my children one as well. What a way to start a new year.

My hope is that all of you will show gratitude to these good and faithful servants, if ever given a chance. One day, it just might be you in the middle of that wet highway needing their help.