Everyday Heroes and Paramedics

“Everyday Heroes” is roughly one month old as I write this blog, and I’ve decided that I should address what has amounted to one negative comment per day about my video and what it depicts. Although I have received countless emails from grateful Paramedics since the release of the video, all of the criticism has come from the EMT (or Paramedic) community. The common issue is centered on the fact that Paramedics are not mentioned explicitly in the lyrics and are shown only briefly in the video, attending to an injured Police Officer. Their concern is that not focusing attention equally between Police, Fire and EMS diminishes the EMS contribution somehow. I respectfully disagree, and so do the hundreds of people who have written in support of the song.

Everyday Heroes Filming - Photo (c) 2010 Brent McCombs

First of all “Everyday Heroes” is a song that honours all First Responders.  As a songwriter, the challenge with every song is to capture the listener’s attention in a way that allows them to paint their own picture while sharing a central message to which we can all relate.  The message of this song is not that we should honour only two branches of the First Responder community.  If that’s what you take away, then watch it again and listen closely.  The message is found in the chorus and the bridge of most songs, where the melody and energy are most dynamic. It’s in the chorus where you say: “ok folks if you’ve been listening so far, pay close attention now cause this is what I’m really talking about”.   In “Everyday Heroes” the Chorus says:

“Cause they made a promise and here they come
Someone hurtin’ called 9-1-1

And the siren’s sayin’ hope is on the way

There’s a hero racing to help a stranger today”

The Bridge says:

“When People in the world need saving the saviors who answer the call
Don’t get paid anymore for danger or get to pick the one’s they want

They just go to where the few will go and maybe lay it all on the line

As they do their job, and do it one more time.”

That’s what this song and project is about: First Responders answering the call. In songwriting you support the message in a chorus using ‘verses’ to show examples of what you’re trying to say.  With “Everyday Heroes” I chose two possible examples with a Fire and Police scenario but they are only two possible illustrations. I might have written a whole verse about Paramedics and the good work they do but that would have made the song 6.5 minutes long and not have made it better or any more clear. It was my artistic decision that the song was done and I had accomplished the goal as it stands today. I have found that every time I hear a song that tries to be politically correct and be all things to all people in equal measure it fails, and for me to be fair to everyone I would have to have written two more verses, one for Dispatch and one for Paramedics. The song would have been 8.5 minutes long, the video double the cost and few would have watched it. For those who did, none would have enjoyed it.

The strength of the “Everyday Heroes” lies in the fact that anyone who has been touched by the work of any First Responder branch will identify with that arm when they hear those lyrics.  If you’ve watched Paramedics come to your house and save your baby, regardless of what images are in the video you will think of EMT’s with the gratitude they deserve.  The same could be said if Fire Fighters saved your home, if Police captured a violent criminal in your neighbourhood or if Dispatch talked you through a stressful situation waiting for help.

I understood going into this that some tensions exist between branches of the First Responder community but my song and its intent is about showing gratitude to all and I refuse to let politics get in the way of my intent and ambition with this project.  911Song.com is meant to be a meeting place to share stories and show gratitude for all First Responders. I invite anyone to share an outstanding first responder story for others to read in the hopes of giving more context to my message. If some EMT’s are feeling left out of this project or concerned that they are viewed as less important than their 9-1-1 partners the answer is not to boycott the video. The answer is to support it! The answer is to participate and share a variety of great stories that show others all the important contributions you make. 911Song.com can be an outlet to educate others about what you do. In my experience though, the EMS contribution is highly respected and valued by the average person and the comments I receive from people who see the video support that. With the little explicit attention to EMT’s in “Everyday Heroes,” most people who write-in mention EMT’s explicitly in their message of gratitude demonstrating that the song does what it’s supposed to do. I’m happy to announce as well that CAA and Transat Holidays have offered a free trip that we will award to a deserving First Responder to join Sons of Maxwell in Punta Cana this April.  Nominate that person by sharing their story on www.911Song.com.  It’s open to EMT’s and all other First Responders. Click here to share your “Everyday Hero story.”

“Everyday Heroes” came about through a challenge from a friend to write a song that captures the essence of the 9-1-1 system and the people who work it. I liked what I wrote and recorded it. After performing it live the response was so strong that someone with the ability to fund a video offered to finance it completely because he felt the message was important enough to share with others. I believe that too so I have paid for the creation of a website to support it and devoted much of my time and energy to the cause. There are enough negative, angry messages in music these days and I’m trying to offer a worthy alternative to those songs. My hope is that people will hear the song, watch the video and focus on what the song accomplishes and less on what it may not but 911Song.com remains a place where all reasonable comments are welcome.

20 replies
  1. bluejackets says:

    hi Dave-just discovered you and your music on you tube -glad you took on the establishment and let them know what they do to cash paying customers- maybe you could take on the big banks-you sing the world listens-thanks again for a great afternoons entertainment with guts

  2. Paul Ahkolik says:

    To call this video awesome would be a gross understatement. This is the modern-day video equivalent of old master’s art.

  3. Aaron B says:

    First of all I have to say this song is amazing I really like this song. I have been a medic for four years now and most of the time we always get put on the back bench when it comes to FF/Police. While listening to this song I knowest that there wasn’t a verse about Paramedics or EMTs but it didn’t change my view of the song, because it is a really great song. I didn’t become a Paramedic to look like a hero or any of that stuff I became a Paramedic because I wanted to help people, when my patient thanks me for what I have done for them that is thanks enough for me I don’t need a song wrote for me or anything like that. I am proud to work within EMS and to all my fellow Paramedics and EMTs just remember we don’t need fame from a song our fame comes from our patients trust and loyality like we give them.

  4. Sheilagh O'Brien says:

    Love the song …though it still makes me cry ! It was so nice of you to think of alll the people who help others in need.

    Just so you know the girls and I always crank ‘the ‘Instant Christmas’ c.d. while driving to Moncton..no matter what the season! Lol! It’s a tradition.
    Are we going to see you and Don at the Fife and Drum this summer?

  5. Darren Remenda says:

    just wanted to say thanks and what a terrific song this is. I agree that when you see the video and hear the song I think of ALL people that are involved of getting someone to the scene.
    I have been a first responder//firefighter for over 9 years and this song is the best that I have ever heard. keep your head up !

  6. Mike says:

    First off THANK YOU Dave. What great tribute to all facets of emergency response. I am a full time career paramedic in NS. I love the song and the meaning behind it. I do know were the frustration is coming from (although I am not one.) Paramedics often feel left out as Holly states. However that comes with the job. At a car accident who is usually there when the media arrive? The police and fire department! The ambulance and paramedics are doing there job by caring and transporting the person or person’s from the scene to hospital. That is what we do. So naturally the media attention would be given to the first responders that are still on scene. I too use to feel belittled and left out, however the more I have grown as a person and professional I realize I did not get involved in EMS for recognition. I got involved to save lives our try my damnedest. To make a difference. Dave keep up the great work and know you have a fan and a paramedic that appreciates the song and the meaning behind it.

    Sincerely

    Mike

    PS Thank you to all my colleagues from all sides of first response. It is truly an honor to work beside and with you day in day out for a common goal. Fellow medics that may disapprove of the song or video remember why you wanted to become a paramedic it wasn’t for fame. I hope!

  7. Dave Carroll says:

    Dave (yes, my mane is also dave carroll), got your mp3 download (paid for) thanks, what a fantastic song, we dont have the 911 number in australia its 000, still the women & men are the same unselfish, put their lives on the line people, the ones we trust to save our lives, keep up the good work dave, & yes you have been blessed, dave carroll {australia)

  8. Janet Gallant says:

    Your song captured the message, the video captured emotion. Well done. Having worked as a volunteer first responder with St. John Ambulance many years ago, it brought back vivid memories of similar calls. Those small children would be adults with possibly their own children now. My wish is they will never need to make such a call. But if needed, I am grateful there is such a wonderful team to be their heros.

  9. Rhonda O'Blenis says:

    This sing clearly pays tribute to everyone who plays a role when we dial the numbers 9-1-1. From the 9-1-1 operator, to the paramedics, to the firefighters (volunteer and full-time), to the police and to any other hero who arrives on the scene and renders assistance.

    We are blessed to be able to make those calls and know that help is instantly on the way!. We are also blessed to have Canadian Songwriters and Singers to remind us of our blessings!

  10. Lisa says:

    I don’t have anything but praise for this video. I’ve been a FF/EMT for 23 years, my husband for 27. We’ve seen and done all you can imagine. We were both Command Officers for the last 11 years, 8 of his as Chief. If some of the “Paragod” would get off their ego trip for just a moment and really listen and see the video, it’s not biased. Yes plenty ‘attention’ goes to FF and Police. There were no mentions in the video about the military, they’re not whining about it. I saw this as a tribute to ALL of us that have done a service for our community or country. Fantastic, and emotional. You can’t help but remember the ones we’ve lost, in Fire, EMS, Police, and Military. “Brotherhood Above All” isn’t strictly fire related, we’re all in a brotherhood, be it Fire/EMS, Police, or Military!

  11. Erwin says:

    I don’t understand the discussion.

    English isn’t my mothertongue, I can read, write and talk it, but when it comes to lyrics I have a problem.

    But in this song I understood some lines
    (thanks Dave for your clear pronouncing)

    “someone is hurt, called nine one one.”
    and “Help is on the way”

    Who comes when some one is hurt? fire fighters? no, police? no, EMS comes.

    I understand the emotions Holly explains here, but people people…. can only shake my head.

    As a person who had to do with all kind of 110 – 112 people (Germany) in an active and passive role I love this song. And am spreading the word in the forums and groups where I participate.

    It’s a great song to good for nagging who has how much words or pictures in it.

  12. Holly says:

    I am a paramedic and had some of the same concerns as others the first time I watched the video.

    I am flattered you wrote this song, and I can understand that its IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone.

    I think the hurt feelings steam from something MUCH deeper then your song.
    In the first responder world.. paramedics are always given the back bench.
    While commercials about “heros” always depict police and fire, not to mention radio adds, websites, and community events, Paramedics always seem to be forgotten.
    People who wrote negative things are probably feeling overworked and under appreciate (hey, who doesnt??)
    So while you may think people are attacking you… theyre probably just looking for a little recognition for working the long hrs & looking after everyone elses families instead of being with ours.
    The song is wonderful.. and I hope all those nah-sayers will take the time to understand the lyrics, and that theyre NOT being left out (for once)

  13. Larry Altergott says:

    Awesome song. As is much of your music. I’m curious whether any EMT’s were vocal about being “left out”? I bet not!!!! Keep up the great work Dave!!!!

  14. Jessica says:

    Dave,

    As a Paramedic, I do not see how this song diminishes what we do… Your song sends a VERY STRONG message!

    Thank You for writing such an amazing song/video 🙂

  15. Matthew Keddy says:

    Hey Dave, great job with “Everyday heroes”. I was a volunteer firefighter/ medical first responder in Nictaux, NS. Alot of fond memories helping out the community. I have since joined the Canadian Forces. I was very disappointed when I saw the Canadian Flags blocked out on the video for “Everyday Heroes” though. Keep up your great work.

  16. Mary DeWolfe says:

    Dave, I heartily agree with Jessica! And I can totally identify with your description of the challenge that songwriters often face. Isn’t it odd – and frustrating – that so many mindless (at best) and destructive/violent (at worst) songs are released and even embraced, with very little criticism.

    I love your work and truly hope you will not be deterred by the negative feedback you have received from just a few.

    And I hope that those who responded negatively will go back and really listen to what you are saying in your song.

    Thank you for your work!

  17. Deni Cooper says:

    I truly believe that anyone complaining about this video is merely an attention seeker. This song and video is a tribute to ALL of the wonderful men and women that respond to any kind of situation that puts people in danger and Dave did a beautiful job with it! Turning it into a ” why didn’t you say MY name?” type of thing is just plain disrespectful, whiny and selfish.

  18. Jessica Thomas says:

    You have written an amazing song and produced an amazing video, Dave. I am sorry that you had to provide this clarification on the intent of the video, when it is obvious that your intention was to do something good. I will never understand why some people need to spin everything into something negative. It is a shame. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are talented and generous.

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