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Honoring local heroes

I've heard my father say many, many times:

Soldiers, policemen, firemen

Respect them always,

Help them when you can.

That was in the days when we didn't have an EMS in McDuffie County. Who in here remembers less than thirty years ago when our ambulances were modified hearses and largely run by the funeral homes?

How far we have come. Over the past 16-17 years I have truly had the honor of serving as medical director for our EMS service. I have been humbled to work with this dedicated group of professionals whose next shift may bring the wonder of a baby being delivered, or a successful resuscitation. On their next shift they may well be the first person a new life sees or the final human touch felt by a life that is tragically cut short. They see the fear in the eyes of the innocent victims; they dry the tears from the injured for whom there is no earthly relief. Many of us in this room, or our family, or our friends have had direct contact with this service over the years.

We don't have to look as far away as the NYC Fire Department to find self-sacrificing heroes. They are right here in our community and will speak to us today.

I adapted a poem for our EMS service's 25th anniversary that I would like to share:

You have chosen as your profession,

to risk your life for those you do not know

You serve us with a determination that knows no bounds

You leave your loved ones, knowing you may not return

The lives you touch, are friends made for life

You laugh and you smile when someone says "THANKS"

You shed tears of sorrow when all your efforts are not enough

May your Ears hear only praises of a job well done

May your Eyes see only the glow from the smiles of the lives you have touched

May your Shoulders be strong, so you can carry the weight of your job

May your Mind be open and able to heal one day at a time

May your Voice be gentle as you call out once more and

May God bless each of you in a way that gives you the strength to face another day.

With all due respect to my dad, we should add to his list:

Soldiers, policemen, firemen, and EMT's

Respect them always,

Help them when you can.

McDuffie Countians, when you hear that siren wail in the middle of a cold, gloomy night I urge you to say a prayer not only for the victims and their families, but also for the brave men and women who serve our community and face these tragedies with compassion and professionalism every day.

Editor's Note: Dr. Jamie Lemley presented a similar version of these comments during the Aug. 11 meeting of the Thomson Rotary Club.



Web posted on Monday, August 22, 2005











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