By Michael Morse
It’s crazy, but every now and then I have to remind myself just how good I have it. You would think that being a firefighter on one of the best departments anywhere would remind me of that every time I went to work or, now that I’m retired, remember going to work, but it doesn’t. All too often I find myself taking what I have for granted and failing to see the bigger picture. I forget that while the job is hard, there is a world of people out there who would give just about anything for the opportunity to do what I did. Fighting fires and rescuing people are hard, make no mistake, but what can be harder still is working for 20-, 30-, or 40-plus years without the opportunity to save a life, or make a difference.
Most people have a little hero in them, I think. Most people think they will stop everything and risk all to save a baby from a burning building or dive into a freezing lake to rescue a person drowning after their car went over an embankment and quickly submerged. There are tons of people ready, willing, and able to do CPR on a person who has fallen at the gym or restaurant or bike path. But most people will live their lives having never been tested and never knowing if they could, or would, perform.
It’s got to be hard to never know. It’s got to be difficult to show up for work every day for 20 years with no end in sight, no pension for another 20, a few sick days, two weeks’ vacation if you’re lucky, and not a chance of anything exciting happening. It’s got to be hard to wonder…
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