For those of you that don't really know me or my family i'll take a quick minute to fill you in...
My family is filled with very selfless people.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up surrounded by people that teach and serve in any way they can.
My mom is a teacher at a local JR High School, my dad is pretty much a professional volunteer and my brother is also a farmer/teacher. Not only in my blood family but my God given family I've been blessed with amazing role models that are constantly teaching me what it means to give back to our community, what it means to be selfless and the true meaning of loving your neighbor.
For any of you "out of towners" that may not know, our quiet little town had a structure fire yesterday. Sundays around Fonda are my favorite because what is normally a busy street is actually quiet and peaceful. So just after 11 our department got toned out to a structure fire on East Main Street. I stepped out of my house and saw the village I love filled with smoke. One of those moments where time feels like its going in slow motion until your adrenaline kicks in and you step in to the role you've been called to do.
So tell me.. if that happens - what is YOUR role?
For me? My role is photographer for the Town of Mohawk Fire Department.
It is a title I carry with pride and it is a job I give 110%.
What an honor to be a part of that group of volunteers. Yes, there are some ups and downs (as most departments/groups have) but when push comes to shove those guys get the job done and they do an amazing job.
We all share the same goal; to serve, protect and save.
I don't know if people believe me or not when I say it but these guys really are my heroes.
Yesterday at our call I was, yet again, reminded of why I love our town so much. The community and the camaraderie is overwhelming especially in the midst of a tragedy which is what prompted me to write this post. Several members of the community that kept walking up and saying "I want to do something, what can I do to help".
As a member of the department and a member of the community please know that from the bottom of my heart I love that and I appreciate your willingness to help.
Here's my advice to you. If you want to help? Join a group that volunteers.
There are several departments that need volunteers.
These guys(and gals) are just that, VOLUNTEERS. They have jobs that they can't always leave. So the more passionate people the departments can get the better of we all will be. Now if you're reading this and you're saying "that's just not for me" that is okay! Not everyone is meant to run towards the fire. The truck operator thats running the truck pushing water to the hose is just as important as the guy at the end of the hose pointing it towards the fire.
The guys driving trucks to fill the ponds help the guys running the trucks that get the water to the hoses that the guys are pointing towards the fire. And the people directing traffic make it possible for the trucks to get in and out with water to get to the ponds to get to the trucks that are running the hoses for the guys pointing the hose at the fire are all just as important. I can keep going but I think you get my drift. There are so many things you CAN do.
The degree of difficulty or intensity may not be the same but they're all just as important.
This post is to hopefully encourage you to find your own special role and then run with it!
I am using my passion for photography to serve the department and it is a prime example of using something you love, something you're good at to serve.
Towards the end of the call two ladies brought three plates of cookies. These ladies handed me plates of cookies and said "this is for the firemen", asked if everyone was okay and then walked away. This may seem irrelevant but to me it was so refreshing to have strangers do something that may have seemed so small but had a huge impact.
Not every single person is meant to do the same job but every single job is important because it's all connected in this crazy life. If one doesn't do their part the other won't work out or it will work out but maybe not as smooth as it could.
In Christianity it's referred to as the body of Christ. You see, we all cant be feet or hands because we need eyes, ears and other body parts to work as a team. It's exactly how our roles play out in our communities. We all have to do our part or it wont work properly.
So if you're feeling called to serve in any way, shape or form. Please do so because the role you're being called to serve is a role that only you can fill and it is an important one. It is a true blessing to serve the community and I encourage you to look at it as a blessing not a sacrifice. Sure we are all busy - find me one person that isn't busy. But if we look at giving as a sacrifice then we wont do it. We need to be thankful we are able to give, help and serve. We need to be the change we want to see and for me if that means taking pictures and handing out waters on a call well you better believe i'm going to do it as good as I can because God deserves my best and so does my town and the department.
If you're feeling helpless in a hopeless situation? Pray. If you don't pray? Bake!
I've never met someone that turned down prayer...or cookies :-P