On Easter Sunday, my boyfriend suffered a life-threatening health incident, in which he stopped breathing. Thanks to the prompt arrival of the first responders from Lawrence Fire and Medical Station No. 1, he is alive today. I had a chance to thank some of the crew in person on Memorial Day, when they came to the Barker neighborhood to participate in our annual Memorial Day parade.
Even though I was extremely distressed and worried as they worked to revive my boyfriend, in a very cramped space on the second-floor landing, I was impressed with their calm efficiency. I admire people who choose this profession for a living, but until last Easter, this admiration was an abstraction. Now it is personal. If it were not for them, my boyfriend would not be alive right now.
In these days of public service budget cuts and the vilification of first responders and their unions, I wanted to take time to thank these people publicly for their service to our community and to my family.
For those who think firefighters, police officers, and EMTs are taking advantage of the system by demanding unreasonable pay and benefits: I hope you never have to find out the way I did how truly valuable they are.