Grateful for emergency services

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

This past weekend, our little community was hit by a series of storms so strong that some roads were still blocked off on Monday morning. The rain was relentless and never-ending, pouring down fast enough to create one of the largest floods Carroll County has ever seen. Several cars were lost in the flood, and one local woman lost her life. She was only 24.

Search and rescue teams spent hours helping people who got caught up in the flood. A local fire chief told me his team worked for 18 hours from Saturday night to Sunday afternoon, barricading roads, moving people to safety and monitoring the storm. I knew the storm was bad. I watched it from my apartment while playing a board game with friends. I knew it was bad, but I had no idea how lucky I was to be safe from it.

Watching the rain create puddles on my apartment balcony, I thought the sound of the rain was even a little pleasant. Of course, itís easy to think that when youíve got proper shelter. In that moment, I didnít think about the people who got washed away by the flood or the people who left their homes in the middle of the night to complete search and rescue missions. I didnít think about the damage or the road closures. I was safe. My husband was safe. My friends were safe. What did I have to worry about?

On Sunday morning, I got a rude awakening. Gideon and I went downtown to walk, where some areas were still flooded. Then my boss messaged me saying somebody died in the storm Saturday night. Some of my friends on Facebook started posting about the victim, a 24-year-old woman who most remember as adventurous. Somebody said she was one of their only friends in town. My heart sank.

On Monday morning, I spoke with a couple of local fire chiefs about the weekend. Theyíd been taking calls all morning about the storm and sounded fairly stoic. Still, I could tell the weekend was tough for them, their employees and volunteers. I thanked them for all they did and continue to do for our community, but that didnít seem like it was enough.

Thereís no way to properly thank those who put their lives on the line during a flash flood while people like me sat at home and watched the rain fall. Iím so thankful to those brave men and women. They stepped up this weekend, and Iím proud to be part of a community with such strong emergency responders.

I canít imagine the horrors they see through their work, not just on a weekend like the one weíve just had but every weekend. They take on the responsibility of keeping all of us safe in good and bad conditions. Sometimes, they canít save people despite their best efforts. That must be the worst feeling in the world.

To all those who work with fire departments and emergency medical services in our community, I want to say thank you. Those words arenít enough, I know, but I mean them from the bottom of my heart.

To those of you who were safe at home this weekend, I hope you extend the same gratitude to our countyís emergency services. Give them a call, send them a letter or write on their Facebook page. Let them know how lucky we are to have them around. After all, they are the people who keep us safe. Theyíre selfless and compassionate, and I want to remember that always.

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Samantha Jones is associate editor for Carroll County Newspapers. Her email address is Citizen.Editor.Eureka@gmail.com