‘Everyday Heroes’ – Story Behind the Song

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.

Cheers, Dave

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.

11 replies
  1. Linda BLAZE Melesky says:

    The EMS were in the Video, although their presence was brief, It was after the Officer was Shot. I saw that, I also saw a down Firefighter & their OWN were working Him. I saw a Frightened little girl on the phone with Dispatch & the look on that Dispatchers Face was mixed; Anxiety, Fear (for the Child), but she kept it to herself & DID HER JOB. JUST AS ALL OF THE VARIOUS PEOPLE IN THE FIELD OF SERVICE FIRST.
    Be Grateful, Not Critical.
    I AM.

  2. Daren says:

    I really like this song about first responders. I think you should make a song about the great men and women in our armed forces. If possible I would like to be involved some how

  3. C.B. says:

    I saw the ads for this song on the Tema Conter web site and on CTV. I looked it up here with great anticipation and was crestfallen to see that paramedics, are again, forgotten. It is a wonderful tribute song and I admire the initiative and message. However, most paramedical services are not combined with fire, and it would have been nice to see more than just a blurry, background figure who was helping a police officer.
    Paramedics frequently go into hazardous, dangerous, situations and also face personal threat; because “we kept our word”. Paramedics are usually gone before the news cameras arrive, or you only see our backs because we are purposely shielding the patients from the public. We are, largely, faceless. I had such high hopes for this song, but it just reinforces that we are the forgotten ones. It’s a good thing paramedics do their jobs for the intrinsic satisfaction of helping someone, because it seems only firefights and police can be heros.

  4. Dawson says:

    I agree with Liz and William. It was nice to see a tribute to “everyday heros” as they go about being forgotten until people need them the most. But I also work in Alberta as a Medic and its not a combined service.

  5. William says:

    AS a medic my self i have to agree with Liz.. i work in a service that is NOT a combined service. Most of Alberta is Split service.. and i would have loved to see EMS in the song in addition to police and fire.

  6. MATT says:

    AS A FIRST RESPONDER AND A POLICE OFFICER WE ARE CALLED UPON TO HELP PEOPLE WHEN THEY ARE HAVING A LIFE TREATING ORDEAL WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON’T UNDERSTAND IS NO ONE CALLS THE POLICE TO TELL US THEY ARE GETTING MARRIED OR THEY JUST FOUND OUT THEY ARE GONNA BE A DAD NO THEY ONLY CALL US WHEN THERE HUSBAND OR WIFE IS HURTING THEM ARE THERE KIDS IS SICK AND NEEDS HELP WE LEAVE OUR HOUSE EVERY DAY KNOWING IT COULD BE THE LAST TIME WE SEE OUR FAMILY JUST TO GO OUT HERE A SAVE SOMEONE ELSE’S FAMILY THAT WE DON’T EVEN KNOW WE LEAVE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT TO RESPOND TO A WRECK KNOWING THAT WE ARE SELF COULD WRECK GETTING THERE WE LEAVE OUR KIDS PARTY DAY PARTY’S THANKSGIVING DINNERS TO GO HELP SOMEONE THAT WE DON’T EVEN KNOW AND ALL TO OFFEND WE ARE OVER LOOKED IN THIS WORLD WE ARE NOT HERE FOR FAME OR GLORY OR EVEN MONEY LETS FACE IT ALL FIRST RESPONDERS ARE OVER WORKED AND UNDER PAYED BUT YET WE STILL GO OUT THERE DAY IN AND DAY OUT TO HELP PEOPLE WE DON’T KNOW WE AREN’T ASKING FOR A LOT ALL WE ASK FOR IS A LITTLE APPRECIATION EVERY NOW AND THEN THATS IT SO THE NEXT TIME YOU SEE A FIRST RESPONDER TELL THEM THANKS IT MAY NOT SOUND LIKE MUCH BUT TO US IT IS THIS SONG MEANS A LOT TO PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF FROM ALL THE FIRST RESPONDERS HERE AND MYSELF THANKS

  7. Liz says:

    Great song. As a wife of a Paramedic it would have been nice to seen more of the EMS heros as not all EMS services are fire based. They deserved equal time.

  8. Robert Flood says:

    Thank you so much for making music that touches hearts and souls in such a deep way.

    I do get a little teased about my ‘patriot’s love’ for Canada down here in the ‘Heart of Texas’. But let me tell you when I played a song like ‘Everyday Heroes’ you should see the tears well up in some of those harden cowboy’s eyes.

    Keep on, keeping on dear friends and I will see you in the neighbourhood when I retire.

  9. Gerry Ashley says:

    Dave, Kudos on a great job and a fine tribute to some of the most unsung heroes today. These heroes live amongst us and we interact on a daily basis without even knowing it. But when the chips are down, there are always there for us.

    You should take great pride in this video. I hope everyone who watches it will download it from I-tunes as I’m doing. In these times, we all need to support those who stand up to protect us. That’s true of our military, but it’s just as true for our dedicated first responders.

    Again, thank you, not only for your wonderful music, but also for your insight and this great tribute to so many unsung heroes. We are pleased to feature you once again on Grand Rants.

  10. Terry Caning says:

    Great job, Dave. I’ve enjoyed entertainment by the Sons of Maxwell at conferences in Halifax for years and of course waited for the UBG trilogy.

    As a 30 year volunteer firefighter, this song gets to the heart of why we bother, why we continue to rush to the aid of our neighbours – and complete strangers.

    Thank-you for this tribute, and keep up the great work. TC

  11. Sara & Dave & Juliette W says:

    We saw you this past August in Ellsworth for a truly memorable evening for all, Thank you so much.
    So Dave, we want to tell you we LOVE the video (911) as well, of course, as the song. You did a really fine job in all aspects. Will you come back to 430 Bayside next year?

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