Telling Stories

When I started this blog back in 2007 I had no idea if anybody would read it, other than me. Facebook was brand new, I think, at least it was new to me, and the Twitters and Pinterests were things I had never heard of. People seemed to like what I had to say, so I kept at it, and through osmosis my writing got better, and more focused. Eventually Rescuing Providence, the book was published, then Responding, and Mr. Wilson Makes it Home.

Along the way I managed to acquire five  columns, Fire Engineering, EMS 1, EMS World, Uniform Stories and The Providence Journal. Next month I’ll begin another, this one for American Addiction Centers. (I guess somebody was reading between the lines of these ramblings and thought I would be a good fit there;)

Yesterday’s column in The Providence Journal describes an everyday kind of call that firefighters and EMT’s and Paramedics respond to all the time. I told the story of a simple response to an elderly lady whose run at home had come to an end. Eight years ago I wouln’t have been able to write the story in the way I managed to do it this week. It wouldn’t have been very good, and it would never have been published, except for here. That would be a shame, because most people don’t read Fire/EMS themed blogs, unless they have an interest in what we do.

But the general public DOES have an interest in what we do, because what WE do directly affects them. Without them, there is no us, and there would be no stories for me to tell.

ems dedicated

I’m glad I stayed with this blog, and kept writing, and kept getting better at connecting with people. Yesterday’s article touched far more people than I could have imagined a short time ago. I received dozens of e-mails from people who had experienced similar things in their lives, and identified with the people in my story, and for many of them who wrote to me saw the people who respond to their homes as more than nameless, faceless employees doing a job. They saw us as living, caring people who put on a uniform every day, and do what is asked of them, and appear emotionless and professional, but also feel, and empathize, and share the same human condition as everybody else.

It was a humbling experience, reading those words, and I was again reminded how fortunate I was to be able to do what I did, and to have touched so many lives and been part of their stories. What we do is far more important than taking people to the hospital, helping the sick, treating the injured and getting lifeless hearts to beat again.

Enjoy every shift, every hour and every second of this ride. It won’t last forever, but the memories you make, and the people you touch most definitely will.

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