Acknowledging first responders

As someone who was on the outside of anything news— and emergency—related until recently, I am still somewhat stuck on the outside looking in. And, this past week is no exception.

My boyfriend Russ Finehout and I were on the way back to Creston from a family holiday get-together in Clarion Saturday when we stopped in Des Moines to shop. We didn’t arrive in Creston until 8 p.m., two and a-half hours after the call for an ice rescue came through Union County dispatch.

I didn’t hear a thing until about 10 that night. A simple message saying two boys were pulled from a pond hit me hard, but not as much as when I realized who was there.

Creston Fire Department personnel were some of the first responders on scene.

Even though I’m one of Creston Fire Department’s band, I was stuck on the outside of the tragedy to the Frey family. I didn’t respond. I wasn’t there. I haven’t talked with any responders about it. Through an icy window, the longer I look in, the more I understand.

It takes a special person with a sound mind to care for such innocent victims. I remember what it took out of me to watch responders during a fatality accident in July, but not being at a call and imagining instead of knowing is almost worse.

Some may call it glorifying or exalting, but I consider it acknowledging and honoring. Acknowledging the hours upon hours of training firefighters, police officers and paramedics do to succeed in their jobs is worth honoring, because the knowledge and training will always be used.

Before joining the fire department, it never occurred to me just what first responders really do. The little things, like maintaining equipment or waking up at 3 a.m. for a medical call, that’s what makes up a first responder’s day. But, it’s the larger things such as performing an ice rescue or dousing a burning house with water that make up the person.

While the community keeps in their thoughts the family and friends of the boys, I want to acknowledge the first responders. First responders get the brunt of it. They arrive before anyone else, survey the situation, work out the best possible solution and attempt to follow through with that solution. Those men and women are the ones who hold any and all emotion inside while running on pure adrenaline and knowledge. And, the more I work around these people, the more I understand what makes them tick.

I may still not be inside every situation, but I’m stepping closer to fully understanding, no matter where I stand, the extent of the effort put forth from any and all responders to any such tragedy.