You all have someone (at least in part) to blame for how I came to be MC…my Dad. As most of you know, I grew up in the firehouse. Public service was a part of my growing up. Helping other people was always toward the top of the list with my family.
Case in point came about 22 years ago. My Dad and I were on our way to So Cal for a scuba trip up the coast of California. We’ve taken a yearly trip, just the two of us, every year since I was 12. We are closing in on our 30th year. At any rate, we hadn’t made it 20 miles away from home when we happened upon a overturned vehicle collision on the freeway. No emergency crews were on scene yet. My Dad stopped the car, got out and said, “Stay here.” Off he rushed to help…only to stop about 10′ from the car. He turned around, ran back to the car and said, “You know CPR. You come with me.” (I had just completed some training as a lifeguard).
I imagine my eyes got wide in anticipation and excitement. I hopped out of our truck and ran after him. I don’t remember if someone had pulled the injured man from the car or if he had been ejected, but my Dad told me to help. Dad directed me on how to immobilize the injured man’s neck until Fire/EMS arrived.
The man didn’t speak English, but I talked to him as he bled all over my hands. EMS arrived not to soon after that. Dad and I were relieved and we went back to our truck to continue our father/son trip. We had one of the best trips of our lives and there are a ton of stories from that trip…but none of them helped to shape my eventual calling into Public Service as much as this one.
I’ll never forget the look of pride on Dad’s face that day as we got back in the truck. I’m sure my smile stretched from ear to ear as we drove away. I was so proud. Sure, I was proud to have helped the injured man, but I was more proud that I could help my Dad. My Dad was (and still is) my hero. How he balances so high on that pedestal, I’ll never know.
Even as an adult, I always loved visiting my Dad at the firehouse. When they’d get a hit, I’d rush out to the apparatus room and watch them fire up the engine, raise the door, hit the lites, and pull out to go be heroes. To this day, I get a rush simply thinking about it.
My passion for helping others was formed at an early age and it’s due in large part to my Dad. He never thought twice about putting himself in harm’s way to help someone else. I have the same philosophy.
So, thanks, Dad. You know you’ve always been my role model…and not just professionally. Thank you for being such a stellar example as both a public servant and a Dad. You’ve made my life that much easier just by being who you are without apology. I love you, respect you, and appreciate all the sacrifices you made for me.