Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Of Weather Gremlins and Heroes

It's snowing again. That's twice in September. You'd think the weather gremlins would know they only have to bring the white stuff once this month to make their point, whatever their point is.

[Side note: Here's where you email me a photo of the world's smallest violin playing, "My Heart Bleeds For You," and tell me it's my own fault for living on the far-flung peripheral edge of the universe.]

On the bright side, it's supposed to be sunny for at least five days straight starting Friday. You'd almost think Indian Summer had arrived, except that my strict definition of Indian Summer states that the ground has to be completely white at least once before any nice weather qualifies. All sunshine before the first blanket of snow is simply a beautiful fall day.

On a different topic, you can help a Nova Scotia fire department win $5000 from Munro Insurance (thanks to Laura from Firefighting in Canada for the heads-up). Go to Munro's Facebook page and click 'like,' then go to the contest page, click on the department(s) of your choice and click 'like' again. I scrolled through the photos and clicked 'like' for the ones that looked like they needed the cash. There were quite a few. Stephen Harper and Darrell Dexter should take a cruise through to see the state of the brave men and women that protect our country from fire.

Speaking of brave men and women, I've been thinking about the term "hero," which gets bandied about quite a bit in relation to firefighters. Politicians in particular like to talk about "brave firefighters" and "courageous volunteers," at least until it's time to include them in the budget. Michael Perry, of Population 485 fame, identifies heroism as the place where courage meets opportunity. The fact is, many of us will never have that meeting, nor do we even know how we would react if we did. That doesn't make our organizations any less worthy of support though.

There is a different kind of courage that is evident in volunteer departments across the country. It won't make headlines or turn heads, but it is courage nonetheless. It's what makes firefighters show up on a Monday or Wednesday night for training, or crawl out of a warm bed when it's -30 to respond to a neighbour's fire, then go straight to their day job afterwards. This kind of courage takes a ragtag menagerie of equipment, combines it with a ragtag group of people, and makes the best out of a bad situation.

There are most certainly members among our ranks that meet the strict definition of hero as well, but it's the everyday firefighter that makes the volunteer service worthy of esteem . . . and tangible, dollars-and-cents support.

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