In Times Like These

My sister-in-law is the Editor and Publisher of the Sutherland, Nebraska Courier-Times newspaper. I have periodically reproduced her weekly column "Weekly Focus" here. In light of the tornado destruction, most conspicuously in Oklahoma, but in actuality many other places as well, where first responders put aside their lives to help their neighbors, this weeks column is most appropriate.

Once again, in the middle of the night, the scanner announced that a fire along the south side of Highway 30 had re-ignited. This was the third time that day volunteer firefighters had to go to the scene of this fire. If Tuesday’s record high temperatures are any indication, I’m afraid we may be in for a very long, hot and dry summer.

In times like these, fires can start from the smallest things, exhaust from a train, a tiny spark from a wheel, a cigarette…

In times like these, lives can be changed in a moment… property lost… pasture, fences and equipment damaged…

In times like these, those who serve on our local fire departments are going to be feeling a lot of strain on their personal lives. The volunteers who willingly respond to the scene of a fire any time – day or night – are to be thanked, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be enough.

In times like these, we may find ourselves needing to show more support than ever before.

What can we do for a firefighter? Most of them are extremely capable people, but how many of them have more than 24 hours in a day? Not one. Local communities may need to help out in ways never considered before.

In times like these, we need to be ever more vigilant with our farm equipment and our vehicles and have water ready when there might be an increased fire danger.

In times like these, tragedy can be exchanged for triumph… “Tired and defeated” is a much harder thing to face than “tired and victorious.”

I’d like to give a big “thank you” to our local firefighters and tell you that you are appreciated more than we have words to express.

I’d like to say “thank you” to all the fire department families, because the commitment to firefighting isn’t just about the firefighter, but also everyone else in the household.

I’d like to say “thank you” to all the local businesses who lend their trucks to haul water, and to the local farmers and ranchers who have their own water trucks and wouldn’t think of not showing up to help.

In times like these, we survive better in an atmosphere of thankfulness.

I remember several good stories from last year, when fire victims talked mostly about what was saved… their lives… their homes… perhaps fences or hay. Each of them thanked God. Each of them thanked all who had helped. Each of them had a greater peace because of their attitude of gratitude.

None of us can predict what tomorrow may bring, but an atmosphere of mutual support is the best way to face whatever troubles we may find.

I find it important that we pray for one another and be grateful for the contributions of all… in times like these.
Note: Locally, the Sutherland area has been blessed with several inches of rain in the past couple of days, so hopefully the anticipated hot dry summer won't come to pass. However, there was a sad accident at the Sutherland Reservoir where an elderly woman lost her life and our local volunteer dive team conducted the recovery. Our first responders are indeed a blessing, regardless of the emergency.


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