Updated: Jul 7, 2022
Like so many others today our hearts break for those that have lost loved ones in the Miami-Dade Surfside building collapse. I can't even imagine the pain these families are having to process at this time.
How does a broken heart deal with the sudden grief of this magnitude? Coming from a large Texas family, we have lost many loved ones through the years. A few from tragedies such as car accidents and suicide, but mostly from cancer and/or the aging process that eventually affects us all.
However, this photo hurt my heart in a new way. It embodies the toll that tragedy takes on our First Responders. Men and Women that go above and beyond to help those that suffer. We can't pay them enough for what they do and for the toll it takes on their bodies, minds and hearts.
It's hard to un-see the trauma that a First Responder has to see and process emotionally on a weekly basis. Saving the life or easing the suffering of another can also come with a large emotional reward. According to one article, "First Responders tend to be highly satisfied with the work they do." They know that their work is vitally important to society and they make a positive difference in the lives of others.
"A first responder’s job will inevitably be physically and emotionally draining. They are exposed to injuries, illness, and even death on a near-constant basis. Even the most emotionally well-adjusted individual will experience the emotional pressures of this job and the toll it takes."
Going back a few years, I was 32 and explored the idea of becoming an EMT. What I did first was to spend the day riding with Paramedics. What a great group of people were at that Fire House! To this day I still think of them and the genuine care for the community they served. They were calm, confident, caring, dedicated and humble.
During that day, we didn't see much action. One call was a homeless person that needed assistance, another call was a stabbing, and a third was a bus accident, with no serious injuries. On our way back to the Station we happened to spot a small unattended trash fire. Not the Medic's job, so they radioed the Fire Station. Most of my day was spent at the Station house talking about the life of a medic and some of the worst things they had encountered.
The next day I went to the University and spoke with a Career Counselor about the classes. As I walked out I had to give serious thought as to whether I would be able to handle the pace and trauma of the profession. After a couple of days of soul searching, I wasn't confident I could process the trauma, but I didn't have the tools then, that I have today.
Fortunately, being in the healthcare industry, first responders are given access to counseling programs and emotional support when they need it. As a first responder, their ability to take care of others depends on taking care of themselves first. First Responders are trained to save lives amid the toughest of circumstances and that takes intense training.
It took me a few years to settle in on a career I could be passionate about and feel the reward that comes from helping others that have had traumatic events in their lives. I've worked with many different scenarios in 30+ years. It hurts my heart as the person relates their trauma, but the perk of this profession is that they leave in a better frame of mind than when they came in. That's a win/win in my book.
I find a measure of peace in believing that the time will come when tragedies will cease to happen. I find peace in believing in the promise of a loving Creator that will step in and bring about the needed changes for the salvation of mankind. When suffering will be no more, bad memories will fade, and man will live in peace.
In the meantime, lets each do our best to be the positive change we wish to see in this troubled world.