A heartfelt thanks

Published 10:19 am Friday, October 11, 2013

A few Fridays ago, I walked out of the office at around 3 a.m., following a long day at the office — more than 15 hours, not that I was counting.

Events had conspired on the previous few days to put me behind going into a football Friday, and the hours just kept on adding up. But the newspaper did eventually come out.

I complained to anyone who would listen at the time.

But I don’t think I’ll ever complain about hours again.

Emergency crews, fighting a fire at a warehouse in Courtland, started to work around noon on Wednesday, and here at 3 p.m. on Thursday, they were still going, performing what they call overhaul. That’s when firefighters pull out their hooks and other tools to get into the walls, ceilings, voids and wherever else to try and prevent extension and the fire from rekindling.

First, and most importantly, I would like to give the deepest thanks to all of the firefighters, volunteer or otherwise, deputies, emergency medical technicians, dispatchers and everyone who came together to help fight this major fire, though I know a simple thanks isn’t really enough.

Crews have come in from many areas, giving up time with their loved ones and potentially endangering their lives to fight this fire. Three firefighters have been treated and released from Southampton Memorial Hospital.

I can’t think of anything I’ll ever do that will compare to this type of experience, especially not on a Friday night. Sure, I’ve heard of sports photographers who have had their limbs broken when a play took a turn into the photographer on the sideline. But even this would be comical compared to what firefighters go through.

I have friends who are volunteer firefighters. They take time away from their families, their studies and their jobs to go away to receive training for this job. And when a fire happens, they again take time away from their families, studies and jobs to go out and fight it. They are schoolteachers. They are pharmacy technicians. They are college students. And they are also heroes.

My hat is off to these men and women sacrificing for the good of the community, and not expecting anything in return.

CAIN MADDEN is the managing editor of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at 562-3187 or by email at cain.madden@tidewaternews.com