The Real America
What would draw people out of their homes at a moment’s notice, 24/7, during any occasion, to risk their health and lives? It is this: The love for their fellow citizens and their safety. Several of our local community organizations and public officials have banded together in the spirit of cooperation to provide services and an additional safety net to blanket our local communities and the surrounding areas.
Between the Escanaba Township Fire Department (E.T.F.D.), the City of Gladstone, and the Gladstone Public Safety Department, a cooperative spirit began with officials discussing the possibilities of increasing safety in covering fire and other tragic accidents. In order to accomplish this, a willingness to change, listen, trust, and an openness in honest communication needed to be established between the various personalities and community boundaries. With this in place, the wheels of change began to move around a central vision which was, “the ability to provide additional coverage by the E.T.F.D., Gladstone Public Safety, and volunteers to the people living in Escanaba Township and the City of Gladstone.”
On August 12, 2013, the Automatic Aide Agreement, an agreement between public entities to provide fire protection services for both areas, was created from this vision. The entities pledged that both departments would be paged at the time of a fire. Fire trucks and equipment could be shared and driven by either fire department.
Other benefits that resulted from the agreement are:
My personal thanks and prayers go to all of our local firefighters from so many townships and communities for keeping us safe. Special thanks to the following people whose candid insights and discussion made this article possible: Matt Rian, Ron Robinson, Ray Hughes, Steve Belongie, and Tom Sealander.
If any communities or townships would be interested in information about automatic aide, you can call the following numbers:
Gladstone Public Safety (906) 428-3131
Matt Rian, Escanaba Twp. Fire Chief (906) 399-2757
America’s Dunkirk: Houston, Texas
Throughout the course of the past week, we witnessed the survivors of Hurricane Harvey verbally pondering what the night would bring with torrential rains and historic flooding. Simultaneously, the television cameras panned across the victims. Etched into their faces were anguish, tears, suffering, and pain. Many had watched the water continually rise, flood their homes, and devastate their lives. Throughout all of this, large numbers turned to prayer, asking God for help.
Help came in many forms and faces, similar to the civilian fishing boats and pleasure craft that crossed the English Channel to evacuate the British Expeditionary Force, French troops, and other Allied soldiers, from the beaches at Dunkirk, France, to safety in England during World War II. Today, this evacuation/rescue came not from war, as at Dunkirk, but as a “war” against the horrific ravages that nature can inflict. This devastation was hurled into Texas and surrounding coastal areas, flooding towns and cities with many feet of rain. People lost homes, jobs, and lives.
Against this backdrop, our help came from the armed forces, police, search and rescue, firefighters, healthcare workers, and volunteers. Above it all, we bore witness to an armada of tiny fishing boats, kayaks, canoes, and whatever else could float. Hearing this cry for help, these volunteers from all walks of life (men, women, and teens) came from Texas and beyond to rescue people.
These rescuers did not care about race, color, or creed; rich, poor, or party affiliation. They were saving Americans-at the risk of their own lives (and some volunteers did die for their efforts), even knowing that their boats were filling with torrential rain. What greater sacrifice is there than to put one’s own life at risk for another human being?
As this was unfolding, I found myself cheering for all of these volunteers. This is what America is all about. We watched these heroes come together for one great cause—because nothing else mattered to them but to save lives! Sadly, we are caught up in many petty issues that divide us, both politically and socially. We should learn from this example of the Texan armada of small boats and volunteers. Boiling it down, they showed the world their love for their fellow man. All who helped are America’s heroes!
It is for us who have not physically participated in giving aid to assist in other ways. This can be done through many relief agencies. Check with responsible agencies and find out how you can help, because the flood victims will need our support for years to come. Keep the flood victims and volunteers in your prayers, for today, months, and years to follow. We are all Texan-Americans!
(This article will segue into my next article pertaining to small, local government agencies working in concert to make communities a better place to live.)