“We pass them off to the next set of hands and then we never see them again.”
I heard that from a few firefighters in Merritt at their Annual Firefighters Appreciation Banquet on Saturday night where I was honored to be the keynote speaker. They rescue and safely give their survivors to paramedics. Most firefighters don’t know if they survive their hospital stay or know what happens after they leave the hospital. They might come across the story in the paper and that’s the only information they have, but the stories don’t come full circle for these brave men and women. I heard again and again how great it was to hear from someone that made it and was doing well.
I feel safe, comfortable when I’m with firefighters, like I’m with family. I don’t know if it’s because they rescued me from a burning car or if it’s just that I’ve spoken to so many of them now and see that they are consistently good, solid people. They know how to have fun and at the same time take what they do seriously. It’s these reasons and more. I mean, who doesn’t love firefighters? When I’m in a room full of firefighters I am home.
“I had such a good time!” You could hear me saying that over and over again to the people at my table, to the mayor, to everyone I had the pleasure of coming into contact with. I did have such a good time.
We were served great food (I’ve been to a few of these dinners and this might be the best meal yet) from a place called Brambles. If you’re ever in Merritt you’ll have to check it out. I hear they make a mean scone too…I have a soft spot for a good scone. I sat at a table with Chief Dave Tomkinson, who invited me to speak, and his lovely and witty wife, Shelley. After my presentation I watched firefighters receive handshakes, good-natured ribbing, and awarded for their brave and selfless work through the year. As Scott and I got our photo taken in a Fire Truck from 1929 and cranked the fire alarm to a loud wail, as we mingled and gathered our things for the drive home we were stopped by a firefighter who told us it’s good to hear the end of the story. Scott replied, “It’s because of what you guys do that we have a family, that there are kids and there’ll be grandkids.”
It’s true. Because of what they do I’m here, Scott is here, and Annie and Benjamin are here. There is life; there is more because of what they do.