In a world where broken promises are common place, when it counts most, there are people willing to help strangers because they gave their word. The essence of ‘Everyday Heroes’ is about these individuals keeping their promise – to respond, regardless of the unknown risks that may await them.
In early August of 2009, when United Breaks Guitars was really picking up steam I received a call from George Heinrichs, president of a Colorado company called Intrado. George was impressed by how my trouble with the airline was handled in such a ‘Canadian’ fashion and thought he’d like to bring the band out for an event in the Fall. In the meantime he invited me to Colorado that month to meet in person and introduce me to the company and what they do; he and I became fast friends.
Intrado’s technology and services are part of virtually every 9-1-1 call in the United States and they now have a presence in Canada. George gave me a tour of the facility and directed me to a part of the building that was somewhat like and interpretive centre where one could stop and listen to a number of past 9-1-1 calls, highlighting the value of the service. I can still recall how moving some of those recordings were.
George knew that I am a volunteer Fire Fighter in my hometown of Waverly, Nova Scotia and that my brother Don is a full time Halifax Fire Fighter. When he asked if I had ever written a song honouring First Responders, I told him that I had considered writing about my experience as a Fire Fighter but hadn’t yet found an approach to my liking. As we continued on with the tour of Intrado, it was then that he suggested I take another shot at writing a song that honoured the people who answer all 9-1-1 calls
When I arrived home I decided to make some time to write that song and began thinking about what it is that makes First Responders and 9-1-1 worth writing about; what is the essence of the message I could should share in this song? When I asked that question, the answer came quickly. To me, the unique and special thing about it all is that the 9-1-1 system and First Responders exemplify the marriage of cutting edge technology to a simple promise made by people with integrity. When someone in desperate need requires help they pick up a phone and dial three numbers and those who can help them respond immediately to their aid, regardless of gender, age, colour, or income level and they do this, sometimes a great personal risk, because they promised that they would. The system requires technology but it hinges on a promise made between strangers. The amazing thing is that the system works!
In a world where broken promises are common place, when it counts most there are people willing to help strangers because they gave their word that they would and the essence of the message of Everyday Heroes quickly became one of ‘Promises Kept.’ The song practically wrote itself when I understood that.
When I shared the song with George he loved it so much that he wanted all his employees to have a copy, so he bought one for all one thousand of them and when I performed it live for those employees in October 2009 they gave a long and meaningful standing ovation to the song. Not long afterward George felt that the song should be experienced by a mass audience and offered to financially back a video if I wanted to produce one. Again he made no demands about content, look or feel. He simply believed in the message and offered the resources to help share it.
So on Mother’s Day weekend I reunited with Curve Productions and we completed a two-day video shoot in Halifax for Everyday Heroes. Halifax Fire and Emergency were a huge help donating Station 13, fire trucks and allowing real Halifax Fire Fighters to partake. The Police Officers were actors along with the rest of the cast and the police vehicles were rented props, as seen on the popular Canadian television show ‘Trailer Park Boys.’ To get as much out of our budget as possible, on Mother’s Day, my mom Sharon catered meals to a film crew and allowed us to use my parents house to film the police scenes… that’s a Mother’s love right there!
Many commercial music videos would portray the singer as the hero in a video of this kind with dramatic close-ups and dressed in the uniforms of First Responders. We agreed from the outset that the purpose of the video was to place the attention on the work of first responders and less on the singer. Although there is no question that Everyday Heroes is a Dave Carroll video, we chose to avoid those typical close-ups and portray me as more ‘the observer’ telling the story in the middle of the action and not necessarily in every scene. Lara Cassidy and Steve Richard did a great job in filming and editing the video with that goal in mind and I think the results speak for themselves.
I’m extremely proud of this video and grateful to everyone who had a hand in bringing it into existence. It’s rewarding to be a part of something that feels right from the outset and my hope is that this song and the message contained within it will be shared and enjoyed with anyone who might appreciate it.
You can also check out my video blog about the story behind ‘Everyday Heroes.’
Please have a listen to my video blog about the purpose behind 911song.com.