Thanksgiving is over. We spent the day with my parents and sister at their house where we overate, played video games, and built things out of LEGO with the boys. It was, all-in-all, a very nice day.
But somewhere along the line, we got a phone call from my brother, which pushed the quality over the day from ‘nice’ to ‘excellent.’ You see, while the family was gathered in NY, he is in Texas, awaiting orders to deploy to Kuwait with his National Guard unit. His wife and mother-in-law had driven down there to see him for Thanksgiving, but he was able to call us. He spoke with everyone in turn, including my oldest son.
It was nice to hear from him and talk, even if it was just for a few minutes. Especially not knowing when we’ll get the opportunity to talk again, as he isn’t set to return home around this time next year.
We ate early since my sister had to leave for work around 3:30, and I needed to catch a nap before I left for work myself. My wife, kids and I left there a little after four, and I crashed on the couch while the boys watched cartoons and played. I don’t remember when I woke up exactly, but when I did, there was a few “Happy Thanksgiving” text messages from people which I responded to.
One though, was a complete surprise. A message from my friend Chris. Those of you who have been around a while might remember Chris from a brief post I did a while back: When I transported him to the hospital
The text simply read “Happy Thanksgiving.” Now, while he’s a friend of mine, this is literally the first text message I’ve ever gotten from, and I’d never sent him one either. Honestly, I don’t remember when we exchanged numbers. I thought it was a little odd to get a message from him, since we don’t see each on a regular basis, much less actually hang out or pal around. Still, you don’t let a greeting like that go by unnoticed. I responded in kind, and got another message from him. We texted for a few moments, and he updated me on the situation which led to his being transported to the hospital with me as the driver, a year or so ago. It was nice to know what he’d been up to and that he was doing better than he had been the last time I had seen him.
Then, he said something that I never, ever thought I’d have said. After he thanked me again for helping him that night, he told me “You helped save a life that night.”
In my line of work, and given all of the experience I’ve had with the ambulance and fire departments, I like to think that there have, in fact been a few instances where I’d been involved in lifesaving activities. Certainly one or two come to mind, but when you hear it coming from a childhood friend…it rings a little differently.
We wrapped up our conversation, and I started getting ready for work. I thought about Chris’s messages, and it got me thinking about all of the men and women who do jobs like that on a daily basis.
I work with men and women in law enforcement who are the most selfless people in the world. Along side them are the firefighters, EMS, dispatchers, corrections officers, and many others who contribute to the health and well being of humanity whenever they can, and that goes for the volunteers as well as the professionals.
So, along with the obvious thanks I have for a happy, healthy family and a decent job which I love very much, I am also grateful for the fact that I can be a part of a group of people who make a difference, not just to strangers at car accidents, but to our very friends and neighbors, even when they look you straight in the face from an ambulance stretcher and say “I’m not coming out of this alive.” The first response family is a huge one, and it includes some of the most dedicated, professional people I’ve ever had the privilege to know, and I am eternally thankful that I get a chance to live and work alongside them whenever I can.