Alexis de Tocqueville is one of the founders of the idea of civil service. In the recent past there was a time in America when the country was still in its infancy and could not meet the needs of the struggling or in need of emergency help. The country needed to survive. As a young country, we needed our strength for independence and rights and our future, and so therefore there was a void in the basic needs of those that were struggling for life before prosperity. America survives on a history and a remaining belief in volunteerism. To help our fellow man when they cannot help themselves. Where the federal part of our nation was or is unequipped, the volunteers emerged. It is from our history of volunteerism that makes America unique and united.
Recently there was a large fire in a building where I and many others have an office. It is located in a rural country area, across from farm fields and a local hospital. A short drive later and while the sun was still rising over the flat country fields, I could see the bright lights of the emergency vehicles. I had been awaken in the early morning hours of a fire. I had visions of one firetruck present and small damage that might easily be fixed in a quick speed of time. Instead I saw more fire trucks than I could have ever imagines From every corner of the country there was a truck, a ladder raised, a water tanker filled, fireman scattered everywhere.
In the county in which I live the fireman volunteer. They wake up early with alarms that wake not only themselves, but their families from sleep. These volunteers dress in the dark, and risk their lives, and dismiss the risk with a small shrug or with a cursory kiss in the night to their loved ones, as they step into their cars and towards their stations to take them to the unknown.
First responders not only risk their lives, but often, as in this case, they have the foresight to think of what should or could be saved. They think beyond the fire to the belongings inside that are not replaceable. They think as the ones on the scenes when the owners are not. They volunteer at the ultimate level.
These men and women have real jobs and families and need to find a balance and an understanding in their choice to volunteer and risk all at any time. They may take trucks together, but some must leave earlier than others to return to their jobs and put the hard and exhausting struggle of the night before behind them. I found myself volunteering to drive people to work if they needed, as they had taken their company trucks to the alarm as a united front. There are many aspects and logistics of volunteering that one might not think about until seen first hand.
This country is a great country because it was built on the idea of the necessity of volunteerism, to help our fellow citizens where they cannot help themselves. Every volunteer is a necessary element to this country, and we should be always reminded to help each other. To thank those help us, and to be grateful for all those that sacrifice their time to help another in their time of need. We always gain by giving, but remembering to be grateful to those that incur sacrifice on our behalf is always worthy of thankfulness.