Submitted by: Johanna
I can’t say I am able to nominate a particular ‘Everyday Hero,’ because I don’t actually know all the names of first responders who have touched my life in one way or another. But I can say the following, in recognition of Heroes in general: I have had experiences with all types of first responders (fire, police, EMS & dispatch) at different points in my life and regardless of the emergency or tragedy at the time, they were all committed to one thing first, making sure the person in need was going to be able to get help in the best and most efficient way possible. Look into the eyes of a First Responder and one thing reaches you, you see that they are real people… just like you and me.
I can recall a time not long ago where I was rescued my burning apartment and carried from my roof to safety. I was amazed at how well trained the firemen were and able to predict what my reactions might be (telling me not to jump, to stay calm, reassuring me that help is here), in order to prevent and minimize further injury. One of the biggest things I remember from my fire experience was when it was time to go back and look at the damage. The firemen were there to inform me about what I would see and accompany me because of the trauma in seeing destruction, seeing my life of memories reduced to ashes. My experience, while traumatic and frightening pales in comparison to what these people deal with on a daily basis. I can only imagine what it would be like to have to attend the scene of a terrible vehicle accident, plane crash or crime scene. They have such big hearts and strong minds to stand up to danger and tragedy and stay committed to helping all others, no matter what. I am incredibly thankful for that.
I have also experienced personal injury and death to an individual close to me. The EMS responders and really the doctors and nurses first responding to incidents showed such warmth and compassion. Especially in the face of death. It was like these people (while professional) felt like it was a personal loss to them too. That kind of reaction and relation on a personal level makes one feel and know that the people doing these jobs are the right people for these jobs. When they are attempting to comfort an individual you know that they are sincere. I know nurses and doctors are generally not considered first responders, but they work in a similar environment and deal with the same stresses.
Lastly I have a first responder in my family (police officer), and I am reminded daily the sacrifices they make in order to make our world a safer and better place. I can’t think of a more honourable profession. My uncle has committed his post pro-hockey career as a member of the Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P.) to D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education in schools) and training other police officers around the world. I think while not necessarily acting in an emergency situation every day, working to make the world better for and/or in the eyes of a child is one of the greatest things of all. If I had to nominate just one Everyday Hero, I would nominate him because of his commitment to help others and help prevent danger, destruction and despair before it happens.