Saturday, December 31, 2005

Brave Rescue Workers In Northern California

I just finished watching an amazing rescue of a lady that was trapped by rising flood waters in northern California. The lady had somehow got out of the cab of her pickup truck and got into the back end as the waters kept rising all around her. Finally, a brave group of men in a helicopter, lowered a single man down, who strapped her into a harness and took her to higher ground.

Watching these rescues are fascinating to me. They are going on every single day somewhere in the country and for everyone we see on television, there are probably a hundred or more going on somewhere that cameras are not rolling. At least a couple of times per month there are helicopter rescues here in my area that involve people that get caught in rising flood waters. There are countless numbers of people that owe their lives to these brave folks and I just wanted to write about them as a tribute to their hard work and brave demeanor of putting others ahead of self.

Most of the time around here in Central Texas, these rescues are conducted by a crack team of professional soldiers from Ft. Hood Texas. As many of you know, Ft. Hood is one of the largest military bases in the nation and the army has several teams of people that are specially trained for search and rescue. It wasn't too long ago that one of their special military teams rescued an entire family from a car that was about to be swept a way by rising flood waters.

It's much to easy to take the power of water for granted. We've seen exactly how much damage water can do when it gets out of control like in the Asian Tsunami and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Drowning due to flooding conditions is one of the leading causes of death in the United States because people don't fear water the way they should. Most of us think of water as something to enjoy like going to the lake or beach during the summer time. However, when water gets stirred up like after a heavy rain storm, the power of this force is greater than anything man can built to stop it.

These brave rescue workers put their lives on the line every single day to help people they don't even know. This is what true heroes are made of and if you ask them if they consider themselves heroes they will look at you funny and say they are just doing their jobs. To me, a job is something we all do everyday that doesn't involve risking our lives to draw a paycheck. These rescue workers may not consider themselves heroes, but I sure do and anyone that has had their life saved by one of these folks, definitely will never forget what they did for them.

From what I've read the most dangerous professions in the country are police officers, firefighters and rescue workers. When you look at what the average American earns in their profession, these folks are no where near the top in yearly earnings. However, rescue workers prove everyday that there is more to a person than their financial earning power and if offered the opportunity to trade their low paying dangerous job for a safer high paying job, I believe most of them would say no.

When I see these folks at restaurants, I always try to make it a point to somehow find a way to buy their meal as a small thank you for the job they do to protect all of us. It's easy to get jaded when it comes of law enforcement officers because of some of the bad stories we see on the news from time to time. However, most are just hard working people that joined that line of work because they wanted to do good things for their neighbors. While you might not feel comfortable buying a meal for a police officer, firefighter or rescue worker, you can find something nice to do for these folks to show your appreciation for them putting their lives on the line to protect you and your family when disaster strikes.

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