- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
This past week, May 20 to 26, was designated as National Emergency Medical Services Week, and we cannot imagine where Charles County would be without these volunteers.
Volunteers have taken numerous classroom hours of study and furthered their dedication to helping their fellow man, woman and child. Some have turned it into a career.
We all thank our doctors for saving our lives after an emergency procedure. But often it is a crew of volunteers who arrive in the middle of the night, patching us up and stabilizing us as we approach the emergency room doors, where the highly (and rightly so) paid professionals work their magic.
It is this tenacious and dedicated crew of volunteers who make sure we’re still alive when we go through those doors.
Those are the life-and-death situations they handle routinely. Volunteer rescuers do far more than that. They show up to parades, much to the delight of children. They host safety and education classes. They participate in mock crashes, which graphically show teens the dangers of drunken or drugged driving. Yes, these are staged events, but the impact of watching these volunteer emergency workers act in a professional manner cannot be faked.
Becoming a certified EMS volunteer or firefighter does not happen overnight. It can take hundreds of hours and months of training for an EMT to become certified just to ride on an ambulance. The same goes for firefighters. Some volunteers have gone to specialized schools, graduated, made it their everyday, full-time jobs. Many still dedicate a major amount of unpaid hours serving the communities where they live.
It is easy to say a quick thank you and a cliché to simply say, “You are brave men and women.” While that is absolutely true and a thank-you is well deserved, there is another appropriate cliché: “Actions speak louder than words.”
Instead of simply thanking our volunteers with words, make a donation to your local department. While they do get some funds from the county government, via taxes and grants, they still rely on donations from the community. Most rent out their social spaces for bake/yard sales or other community gatherings and find other ways to raise funds. That helps. But more can be done.
Just about everyone is this county has either needed the services of a volunteer emergency responder or knows someone who has. That makes the funding of our volunteer units a personal matter. So, take a moment to look up your closest emergency responder headquarters. Make a donation. And, if you have the means, make a donation to the next closest.
No one has the ability to predict when they will be in the need of a rescuer. At least you can sleep at night knowing you contributed to keeping them around. And they will know how truly thankful you are.