By Greg Childress
Durango Fire & Rescue
The world will often try to convince you it is a bad place. As evidence, you will be presented with stories about people far away who wish you physical harm, faceless corporations who want to take your money and politicos who pretend to speak the truth.
Allow me to convince you otherwise. I know for certain this world is a good place, full of good people. I know this because out of the previous examples, in all my years, I have not personally met a single one. However, I have met, and gotten to know very well, 59 very special people who live right here in our community. These people are your neighbors, your plow drivers, your cable people, your accountants, your real estate agents, your child’s coaches or any of a variety of roles filled in the community.
What makes these people so special to us is they are all Volunteer Operational Responders for Durango Fire & Rescue. As responders, they operate side by side with the 18 men and women we have on duty every day. As responders, they comprise the largest division within DF&R and are responsible for the largest coverage area. As responders, they are not relegated to back up or support functions only – they are peers, equals in both certification and training.
These men and women, and often their families, donate an amazing amount of their time and energy to prepare for and respond to emergencies of all varieties as well as participate in community events and educational programs.
In the first three months of 2016 alone, our 59 operational volunteers accounted for 877 hours of training, 298 hours of meetings and community events and 395 hours of response ready unit staffing. This was presented as benefit to the community in the form of 385 individual volunteer emergency scene responses. Responses (usually) not for friends or family, but most often for total strangers.
So next time the world is trying to convince you how it is full of badness, please take a moment to consider these special people. People right here. People you and I know. People who donate their time and energy. People who have sacrificed meals, sleep, holidays and sometimes more. Not for money. Not for reward. Not for notoriety. For the simple satisfaction of looking in the mirror at night and knowing that they did their small part to make our community, our world, a better place.
These people are right here. They might be next to you in church, behind you at the grocery store or passing you on the river trail. So next time you see that person in the Durango Fire & Rescue shirt, please take a moment to wave or say hello. And while you’re at it, a little thanks goes a long way. Thank them not just for making our community such a wonderful (and safer!) place to live but for reminding all of us as to what is right and good in the world.
Cpt. Greg Childress is volunteer coordinator for Durango Fire & Rescue. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.