A LITTLE PERSPECTIVE – Oct. 10 — Priceless commitment

This is Fire Prevention Week, with Thanksgiving close behind. It's an excellent time to acknowledge all emergency service volunteers.

Fire departments and emergency service workers go through hours of training- often on their own dime and at the expense of time they might have spent in other worthwhile pursuits – like playing ball with their kids.

It has gotten no easier to put a warm body in the seat of an emergency response vehicle. Training requirements and certification standards are tougher than ever – for good reason too. As Midway Volunteer Fire Department Chief Walt Osellame said his first priority is the safety of the members of his crew.

These men and women devote hours of their time to learning and practicing the skills they need to respond to fire, accident or medical emergency.

In order to get the mug shots of the emergency service workers I made a couple of stops to fire halls and truck bays during practice hours.

One wet and stormy Tuesday night last month the weather had forced the Midway fire practice into their training hall for the evening. The fire chief said that, while holding onto wet fire hoses in a thunder storm might be a real learning experience, it was one best taught through theory rather than practice.

They were lacking neither curriculum nor instructor. Chief Osellame is a coordinator of fire training at the College of the Rockies.

There is always a lot to learn or review for those who serve their communities as members of these emergency teams.

Over the last year much of the equipment acquired needed to establish the rural response capacity has come gratis or at reduced cost because Osellame has agreed to donate his own time as an instructor for the members of the Grand Forks and Christina Lake fire departments.

It was impressive that, in addition to the two-hour practice these volunteers were attending that night, a number of them were going to a Grand Forks fire department practice the next night too.

In order to provide fire response to areas that don’t have fire hydrants the Midway department had purchased some new equipment that Grand Forks, with its rural departments, has experience with. So seven or eight Midway volunteers were headed over the following night to learn how to use the gear and then would come back and teach the rest of the local crew.

This is the kind of commitment that is shown by all the community-based emergency services workers—whether ambulance, fire or highway rescue.

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With Thanksgiving Day coming up this is a good time to take some time out to count your blessings. A list of the ten reasons to practice gratitude:

  • Gratitude makes us happy.
  • Gratitude reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Gratitude is good for our body.
  • Grateful people sleep better.
  • Gratitude makes us more resilient.
  • Gratitude strengthens relationships.
  • Gratitude promotes forgiveness.
  • Gratitude makes us more generous.
  • Gratitude is good for children.
  • Gratitude is good for schools.

Can you add to this list?

“You practice thankfulness by noticing the beauty around you and within you. Then you let yourself feel the gratitude in your heart.

“Count your blessings often, especially when you are having a hard time. If you want to practice thankfulness, learn to receive. It is blessed to give and it is blessed to receive.

“To practice thankfulness, appreciate little things—a flower by the road, the stars at night, a challenge met, a laugh with a friend, a shared sorrow. To be truly thankful don’t wait for a dream to be fulfilled. Celebrate the moment.”

Source – The Virtues Guide, 1990