LETTER TO THE EDITOR: An open letter to emergency personnel
We see you. Every single day. You are the sound of the pager tone at that restaurant telling us you are needed—we hear you. You are the lights simultaneously flashing letting your presence be known—we see you. You are the sirens screaming down the highway warning others to get out of the way—we pray for you. You are the calm voice in a moment of panic, the gentle touch of reassurance—we feel you. In a moment of terror and chaos, you are the calm and composed figure of hope—we trust in you. You are the breath of life in the revival of loss—we believe in you. In a moment of loss, you are the heaviness of the heart—we cry for you.
You are tired. You are hurting. You are haunted. The long days, hour, and minutes of each shift have worn you down. The losses and question of "What more could I have done?" linger in the back of your mind. You see the worst of the worst, and those moments stay with you forever; they replay over and over in your head when you close your eyes and are a constant reminder of how cruel and unfair the world is. The images of those horror stories are etched into your mind down to the very last detail—you cannot unsee the tragedy of hell.
This job surely isn't easy—only the few and the brave can do it. It is the most rewarding job of all; there is no greater feeling of accomplishment than that of saving someone's life. You don't do it for the money. You don't do it for the glory. You do it for the rush you get when you get a call. You do it for the people. You do what you have to do when you have to do it, as long as it means you are helping someone. You do it every day, hoping and praying that you made a difference in someone's life—that's all that matters.
Although you don't get the recognition as often as you deserve, you are more valuable than you think. You are just as important as police and firemen. You risk your lives every day to save the lives of others. You are more than just an "Ambulance Driver," a "Paramedic," an "EMT," or a "First Responder"—you see, you are more than an "everyday" hero; You are the angels sent to help heal the wounded and tend to the sick. You are the difference between life and death. You are the reason that woman is able to see her son graduate high school. You saved that man's life—he can walk his daughter down the aisle at her wedding next summer. You safely delivered that baby on the side of a road, and he's now a happy, healthy 2-year-old. You see the young man working at the local coffee shop? You brought him back to life when he overdosed—he believed in you when he gave up on himself; you made him feel his purpose, and he's changing his life because of you. You are the "Star of Life"; at the end of every day, you shine through in someone, somewhere, bigger and brighter than ever.
Thank you for what you do. Thank you for the service you provide. Thank you for being compassionate and believing in others in their moments of weakness. Thank you for giving us hope in our moments of doubt, and having faith to fall back on. Most of all, thank you for seeing us when we are vulnerable and afraid.
We see you, too.
Karmen Clark is a sophomore at Bemidji State University.