I wrote a letter this evening to someone I don't know. Actually I probably do know him on sight, I just have never put a name with the face. He is a firefighter on a neighboring department. He responded to a bad accident last night where my understanding is all he could do was hold the hand of a high school girl until the end.
He isn't taking it very well.
He posted on Facebook "
I've pondered on that all day. This evening I wrote him. I decided to share it here on the off chance someone else might stumble across it that needs to hear this:
I wasn't at the wreck and I don't know all the details. But I saw your comment on Facebook. Let me ask you a couple questions you have probably been asking yourself:
Why did you become a firefighter? If you can't save everyone why go through it all?
I don't know why you started. But I can tell you why you should stay. Because you are making a difference. It may not seem like it, especially after a run like this where despite doing all you can do it seems you lose. But you did everything you could do at the time.
You can't, absolutely cannot, win every time. But if what you do lets us win one time it is worth it. So we train and we practice and we gain skills in the hope that one time we can make a difference.
Even this time you made a difference. It may not seem like it now, but trust me, you made a difference.
I went through First Responder this winter. My first time I was first on scene at an incident where the victim was probably gone before he hit the ground. I couldn't do a thing for the victim. But I did something for his family. I let them know someone cared enough to drop what they were doing to respond to their need. That everything possible was done.
You are making a difference and you will probably never know what it is. Perhaps it is causing someone else to do something. Perhaps it is inspiring someone else to make the first step toward Firefighter or First Responder or Paramedic. I don't know and neither will you.
But I am convinced despite the heartache and pain and frustration that you are making a difference now and are going to make a difference in the future.
Your community needs you. And despite it all, you need to continue for yourself. So when the worst happens you can look yourself in the mirror the next day and say "I did everything I could do."
This isn't like being on a ball team. There is no tournament. Doing what we do, if we can win one time, just once, we win it all.