What if you went to work this morning knowing you may see someone die? What if you went to work and knew someone was depending on you to see their families again, to hear their children laugh one more time, to smell a rose or to enjoy a good meal? What if, despite all your efforts, you ended up holding a victim while they died?

We all have something about our job that we dislike or even hate. If it was all fun, we’d have to pay our employers for the pleasure instead of being paid ourselves. I want to take a moment to share an aspect of a very special kind of job––I’m talking about our first responders and more specifically our firefighters and medics. We all want them to be there for us and come when we need them, yet we rarely think about the trauma they witness or consider the scenes that stick in their minds because they are so impossible to reconcile. 

They pull human beings out of horrific car wrecks, and they are routinely exposed to every imaginable bodily fluid. How many times do they witness preventable tragedies, senseless deaths of children and people in our community—our friends, our neighbors, our families? 

All I ask is that when you see someone from the fire department, please reach out and thank them for what they do. Thank them for being ready to come at a moment’s notice. But you might especially thank them for the things they see and do so that we don’t have to. 

“A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” – Christopher Reeve

Frank Grubaugh, fire commissioner 

Key Peninsula Fire District 16

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