Monday, July 23, 2018
I awoke to discover that I had slept through a major storm and that the news of the day was not good. A thirteen year veteran of the Howard County Fire Department has died as a result of injuries sustained while fighting a seven alarm fire.
Ever since 9-11 I have been accutely aware of how mind-bogglingly brave firefighters are. They run towards danger and disaster when the rest of us would be running away. They are among the helpers that Mr. Rogers told us to look for.
There was something else my mother did that I’ve always remembered: “Always look for the helpers,” she’d tell me. “There’s always someone who is trying to help.” I did, and I came to see that the world is full of doctors and nurses, police and firemen, volunteers, neighbors and friends who are ready to jump in to help when things go wrong.
(Of course there are more details to this story than one fire and one firefighter. For those details you will need a newspaper. You do subscribe, don’t you?)
But for the Howard County firefighting community it will be the story of one fire and one firefighter. Of anguish and loss. It is the outcome that all must face and somehow, in the back of one’s mind, must dread. There is no way I can possibly know. I know what it feels like in a classroom of three year olds in the dark during a lockdown drill, wondering what it would be like if it were real. I do not know what it means to run towards danger.
I am so grateful for our firefighters, the work they do and the risks they take. I offer condolences as you grieve. I offer you thanks for your devotion in caring for our community.