I’ve spent the past two weeks thinking about what I wrote in my last column. In that column, I discussed the lack of drive in those volunteering for organizations such as fire departments. Since then, I received a single comment, and I want to thank that person from the bottom of my heart.
The Monday after the publication of my column, I received a letter from a volunteer firefighter. This firefighter shall remain nameless, as he did not wish his letter to be publicized. However, I wanted to thank him for the letter and wasn’t sure how else to do that.
So, thank you. It meant so much to me knowing I wasn’t the only one who has witnessed the decline of volunteering, especially in such a beautiful area as southwest Iowa. It truly was inspiring to read that letter and know, even though I may or may not know this man very well, he is still looking out for his comrades. That right there is what I appreciated the most: despite everything, someone out there is looking out for others.
I may not be the most active in my department, or at work or in class. I may complain at times because there are those who volunteer less than I do, or put in less time than me. But, in the end, I am trying to be a better person. Knowing there are those out there who can be better even when they have large families and no time makes me want to be better too.
I know it isn’t much to some, but sometimes, it’s that small thing that makes the biggest difference. Your organization is like your family: you go through the best and the worst times with your family. Firefighting is no different. Firefighters see people at their worst and try to do their best in that situation. There aren’t many people who can say they’re part of such a distinguished family, especially one that gives so much of themselves. I love being able to say I’m part of that family, and I hope I can make that family the best it can be.
It’s not much, but hopefully something like this can be paid forward. Say thank you for something that may seem insignificant, be appreciative of your coworkers or take a moment to breathe that southern Iowa air.
Respect your environment and the people you share it with. Then, use that respect to better your surroundings. Be an active member in your organization; make your community better in that way.