Our world is bombarded with tragedy, hate, harsh words, and deceit. But, our world is also full of kind, generous people who would sacrifice their own life for a complete stranger. I married a kind-hearted person like this who helps gunshot victims, rape victims, people threatening or who have just attempted suicide, victims in cardiac arrest, and children who have been abused, to name a few. Of course he puts out fires too! Sometimes he is spat on and threatened in the midst of helping people. He works 24 hours shifts and rarely sleeps on shift because they respond to calls around the clock. He never complains about his job, because he loves what he does. He would also hate that I am writing about him.
Russ always warns me when there is talk of a hurricane, tornado, snow storm, etc that he will probably go work overtime and to make sure he’s able to get to work for his scheduled shift. There’s no calling out because there’s too much ice or because his car is stuck. It really kicked me in the gut the first few times because it occurred to me that every hurricane, snow storm, or other catastrophic event means he probably won’t be here. At first I was overwhelmed thinking about dealing with multiple children (no, this is not a pregnancy announcement) without him during a major event, but then I realized that we should all live with the “helping others” mindset.
Russ has inspired me beyond belief. Years ago, when I married him, he had no idea what he wanted to do with his life and now he is so passionate about what he does. He is an amazing husband and father and truly loves his profession. Is it emotionally taxing on him? Of course. All first responders deal with “those” calls that make you question everything. They see things that make you question humanity. First responder means “to run toward an event rather than away from it.” Wow.
WE signed up for this. I have received text messages that say “I am at a bomb threat” or when he was late to come home after shift, I wondered if he was injured in a fire the night before. Uncertainty can be scary, but one thing is certain – God has called him to this profession. God is using Russ to teach me about the importance of reaching out to people, even when there is no “thank you.” God is using Russ to teach me that we should not do things for recognition, but to show God’s love through our actions and reactions.
If you are a firefighter, EMT, military, or police spouse – I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting your other half in the endeavor to help other people, in a time where there is so much hatred toward the helping profession.
If you are a firefighter, EMT, military, or police officer – thank you for keeping our streets safe. Thank you for putting your life on the line every single day. You are truly heroes.
People spit on you, post ugly things on social media, riot on your streets – and still you go to work every single day, to protect people who don’t even realize the sacrifices and situations that you face. THANK YOU!
If you haven’t, be sure to thank your local first responders for protecting your streets. Our men and women in blue truly amaze me because our world has become so violent. I truly mean these words at the very core of who I am because I deeply believe in the work you do. You are ALL an inspiration.
If you are married to a first responder of any kind, then you have probably had one of "those" gut-wrenching moments. One of the moments where your heart feels like it's on fire. It begins to pound so violently with fear that you feel like it is literally going to come out of your chest. Your hands become sweaty. Your legs suddenly become limp. I have had a few of these moments thus far in my husband's firefighting/EMT career. There was the time I received a text that he was at a bomb threat with no response from him after the initial text until the next day. There was also the time he was on shift and I heard that horrific and violent protests were going on and that those on shift were preparing to be on scene. There was also the morning where he did not return home when he usually does and I could not make contact with him - come to find out, at that time, he was held over to work another shift.
Fortunately, since the scare of the bomb threat text, he guards my heart from a lot of panic. The times where he is heading into burning buildings. The times when he is present on the scene where violence has/is occurring. The times where he is working on gunshot victims, pulling bodies from a burning building, drug overdoses, car fires, helping abused children, dealing with rape victims, or well, you get the point. First responders see SO much, day in and day out. When I say "first responders," I know that my mind cannot even begin to grasp all that our police and firefighters/EMT's see on a daily basis.
But, for now, I want to encourage YOU - the wife of a first responder:
It is NOT easy knowing that your husband, the father of your children, your soulmate, your best friend is risking their life for someone else. It is NOT easy wondering what they are dealing with for those 24 hours straight (or whatever shift your man has). We CAN pray, trust, and try to be strong for our children. We can also continue to work hard when they are gone to give them less to worry about while on shift. “Hold down the fort!” We chose this life together and while it can be scary, it can also be so rewarding. We can be the one to help our spouse mentally prepare for their next shift. We can be their sounding board when they have different traumas or frustrations they need to get off their chest. We can be patient when they are running on no sleep.
We must try to be patient with them and remember that what they see is not always something we can grasp. I cannot imagine pulling a body out of a burning building of someone who is barely breathing and burned so badly you can not identify them. I cannot imagine holding the hand of a child who just saw one of their parents get shot.
The world can be a cruel, cruel place - so let us work together and support one another to create a home environment that feels safe, warm, and secure for our first responders. A place they do not have to worry about when they are on shift.
I am praying for you tonight and always. I am excited about the thought of creating a safe space for us to support one another.
I want to leave you with this poem by Tammi Conway called "The Life of a Fireman's Wife" - but this is for all first responder wives - you are ALL important, treasured, and valued. And police wives - you have a whole different level of things they have to deal with, and boy do we applaud YOU. My husband has NOTHING but respect and kind things to say about our police officers. They often protect him when he is working on a dangerous scene, so thank YOU.
"Every time I hear the sirens wail