A special week times two

Oct. 4 through Oct. 10 is both Fire Prevention Week and National Newspaper Week — two things in which I invest a large amount of my time.

For National Newspaper Week, the theme is “Carrying the Torch of Freedom.”

Cool. I like the idea of carrying a torch. The theme makes me think more soldier than reporter, but in a way, we’re fighting our own battle. We fight for truth, justice and the American way! Think Clark Kent and the Daily Planet. Tights and a cape under our boring gray suits.

Jokes aside, most reporters really are looking for the truth, trying to right wrongs and hoping to inform the public, whether they want to hear it or not. We also write to entertain through feature stories and columns.

What seems to surprise the public is that reporters are just people. Real people.

Yeah, I know! It freaked me out when I first discovered it, too. Who knew?

Here’s another shocker if you think your heart can stand it. I can’t vouch for every reporter out there, but personally, I have no vendettas and am not part of any vast conspiracies. I’m not secretly plotting against any political party — in fact, I can’t stand poli-tics. Seriously, folks. The only conspiring I do involves hiding Christmas presents or the occasional plot with my husband to play a trick on a kid. Sometimes we work together to tease the dog, too.

I can honestly say, being a reporter is the only job I know of that a person does their work all day, then sends it out to be criticized by the general public. Strangely enough, angry people are more willing to pick up the phone and share their feelings than the people who like an article. The rude emails, threatening or mean phone calls and ignorant comments are just part of the job.

So I’ll keep carrying my own little torch, knowing that for every person who is of the outspoken minority, there are plenty of others interested, informed and entertained by my work.

This is also the week when fire fighters are generally acknowledged for their contributions.
As a member of a fire and rescue team I have both experienced and witnessed the toll it can take on a person to be volunteer department, and I personally applaud everyone who gives of their time and themselves to commit to one, whether it be paid or volunteer.

The volunteer fire fighters I know put in countless hours at drills, attending meetings, working on certification, ongoing education and doing jobs around the fire hall. There always seem to be trucks in need of repair, equipment to clean, floors to sweep and vehicles to maintain. I’ve seen people use their days off work and time after work to do whatever needs to be done.

Then there’s the time spent fighting fires, cleaning off roads after a crash, storm spotting and saving lives. Almost always, the fire fighters are risking their own lives while protecting others. Usually dodging “lookie-lou” gawkers while they do it — you know, the ones that don’t have time to commit, but always have the time to watch when the sirens go off.

I am not a fire fighter — I am a first responder. When the responders get a call, the fire fighters back us up, and when the fire fighters get a call, the responders do the same. We fetch and carry, distribute bottles of water and do what we can to help. When the responders get a call, our fire fighters are there to help secure the scene and do whatever they can do assist us. We drill together and learn to help one another in the field, and the way they rely on each other tends to roll over into personal lives. The camaraderie among the team members is very strong and very real.

My husband has been a fire fighter for more than a decade and is now our chief, and I’m proud of the effort he puts into our de-partment. I’m proud to serve with the other members, and over the years I have watched them take duties and responsibilities upon themselves simply because it needs to be done.

They give selflessly of their time, all in an effort to protect the lives and property of the people in our community. I consider it a privilege to work with them and be a part of their team.