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The First Responder



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The First Responder

To the Editor:

I’m running. I’m running from the horror, chaos, smoke and fire behind me. I see death. I see it on the faces of the people passing me, the people I’m stepping over. I even smell it over the horrific smells of the acrid smoke and fire. My mind is a blur, can’t think, just run. Nothing else matters, just get out.

Wait, what is this? What’s coming towards me? It has to be some sort of demons circling around from behind! Everyone is running out! Who are these fearless forms heading towards this hell? Getting closer now. I am frozen, unable to speak, to move. The first one moves into eyesight through the putrid, blinding smoke. It’s a helmet, looks like fire department headgear, yes, it is. It says “Fire Dept., Firefighter.” I can’t make out the city or town, because it could be any city or any town. The next one moves up into view. I see a shield. It says “Police Dept., Police Officer.” I can’t make out the city or town, because it could be any city or any town. The third one moves up into view, and as I begin to lose consciousness I see an arm patch that displays “EMS.” I can’t make out the city or town because it could be any city or any town. I fall to my knees, helpless.

All three kneel and assure me I am going to be O.K. I look and see many more fire, police, and medical personnel behind the original three. I am lifted and moved toward safety by one of the many. The original three continue into the smoke and fire as though they are supernatural spirits. I beg the first responder assisting me to stop. I turn and gaze toward the direction of the original three now swallowed up by smoke. My rescuer comforts me, as he feels my pain, my respect, and my total undying admiration for the original three. I see in his eyes the concern he feels for me and all those already fallen and all at once I understand.

These days, this could be a story lived by any one of us. First responders are very special people. I understand them. I was one for 21 years and it is impossible to let go of.

You see them every day. In police cruisers, fire apparatus, and ambulances. They are there. Every day and every night they slide into the seat behind the wheel of that cruiser, fire truck, and ambulance. I believe when they do this, they are seated in the lap of the Lord.

We need to pay tribute and honor those first responders, those who have passed and those who continue to serve. Those who respond in the middle of the night and in the light of day. Those who give so selflessly of themselves so that you may go on to follow your dreams and your future.

You see, to the first responder, it is not merely a job, it’s a commitment to life and our country. They, the first responders, are truly our first line of defense.

Sincerely dedicated: To those who are with our Lord; to those still serving; to those who will serve in the future.

Bill Farley

51 Botsford Hill Road, Newtown        October 1, 2001

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