As most of you know, I was involved in a crazy accident this past week. With this so fresh on my mind, I decided to scrap my planned article and continue with a more important topic. I would like to take this week to thank everybody who helped us. Strangers, volunteers, first responders, etc. Thank you!
In such a small town, like Eads, everybody has a role. You could work at the hospital, be an employee at the gas station, a farmer, etc.. Whatever your role might be, you wear it and you wear it well. People know you by what you do and how you contribute to this community. However, you never realize this special factor of a small town until your life is thrown between rolls like a ball in a pinball machine. Moments after the wreck, I remember the scene being filled with familiar and unfamiliar faces. People passing by did more than just stare, they jumped into action to call for help. That is one thing I will never forget, how minutes seemed to be hours. The adrenaline took time and stretched it to where it was a scene from a movie. I remember blocking out the surrounding noise and just hearing myself breathe. As soon as help arrived, I could name every person that was on that scene. You never know if it will be your old classmate extricating you out of a vehicle, maybe the girl you used to babysit for taking your vitals, or even your own mother saving your coworker's life. At this moment, we were in the safe and caring arms of a small community.
On the other hand, I feel there is an important piece of information that we should all take in and ponder. With being in such a small town, the first responders, such as EMT’s and firefighters are primarily volunteers. A small stipend is given to few for their efforts, while the others give their time for free. This is such an important thing to know especially when you find yourself in need of their assistance. When you are the one pinned in a car or fields in a horrific fire, you expect help to be there. How can we expect help to be there when they are primarily volunteers? Aside from that point, for those who do not think it is necessary to have a solid department with funds and payroll, we are basically asking for a freebee. We are asking people who have other jobs of their own, to pause what they are doing, donate their time, to help somebody in need. What if they need those hours to be able to pay bills? If I was asked to pause my job to fight fires for a few days, I cannot say I would be willing to do so without pay. Being part of first responders is a big responsibility. It comes with sleepless nights, days full of training, and physical and mental tolls. These people save lives off the clock and we nonchalantly expect them to continue doing their job. What happens to the day nobody is available to respond?
In my situation, I am so very thankful for the people that were able to respond and take action. Without your efforts, I have no idea where we would be right now. We are a small town full of everyday heroes. It is time we give these heroes the credit and gratitude they deserve. If you are part of the first response team in Kiowa County, thank you for everything you do on a daily basis!