Sometimes, when I am working with a patient, the volunteers leave before I have the chance to say "Thank you"....I just want to take this opportunity, since it is the Season of Thanksgiving, to let all volunteers everywhere know that I am grateful to you all from the bottom of my heart for every thing, big or small, that you do. I am relieved when I see the rescue truck lights like a beacon leading the way through the night to the patient. I am glad that a volunteer took the extra time to learn how to apply a non -rebreather or a nasal cannula, recognizes the need for oxygen in a patient, and provides it for them before I am on-scene, I thank you for laying a tarp across my back when I am on my belly with my upper body inside a mangled hunk of metal, attempting to intubate a kid who didn't listen when his mom said 'buckle up, honey'....I thank you for the haste and safety you insure to me, my partner, and the patient when you tear and rip said hunk of metal from around said kid's body so that I can help send him back to God or Mom, whichever the case may be. It is a comfort knowing that if I have a really bad situation in the back of my truck, I can ask one of you to drive the ambulance to the hospital so my partner and I can work together on the patient, and you do it professionally and safely for us and other traffic. You never display siren syndrome and I know you try to provide a smooth ride and a stable work area for us. I know that when needed you are willing to climb into the blood and guts, puke and poop and slide around in it with me just to help me any way possible enroute. You have no idea who will come and retrieve you, or when, after the 50 mile trip to the e.r. is done, but you will walk home if neccessary. I feel secure in knowing that when a patient is too emergent to be transported by ground, I can look out the back of the truck and you are there, guarding the back windows from gawkers, ready and waiting for my slightest request. I can give you the twirly motion with my index finger in the air, and in just a very few minutes I will feel the vibration of rotor blades as you guide the pilot to the landing zone that you miraculously established in the middle of nowhere, with nothing except your vehicle and a flashlight. The pilot and his crew trust in your ability to assess the landing area and know you will relay to them any dangers on the ground. Eye to eye contact with the pilot lets him watch his landing as you guide him down and you do this as you somehow watch out for thrill seekers and bystanders who might wanderb into the danger zone. You don't even know what a relief it is to see you on the scene of the lady we all know very well. The one we all know is really just lonely, not really that sick, and we all know she is just too much to handle for me and my partner alone. But, there you are in the middle of the night, sleepy-eyed and hair standing on end, wearing pj bottoms and your turnout coat/boots, just smiling and joking with us , forever upbeat and comforting to the worried patient, strong and steady in the lifting, easing the load on my already injured back, ready to lift and heave, push and strain right beside me so she can get a run down to the e.r. for some simple procedure that could have waited until morning. The real medicine for your lady will be when her son retrieves her following her discharge. She misses him and this is about the only time she sees him. The aggrevation of her minor ailments, the extra-heavy lifting, and the 0300 page from 911 are worth it then. She is healed for a while. You do it all for nothing.....for not one little thing in return. Thank you for working "real" jobs in factories, offices, semi trucks, construction sites, grocery stores, restaurants, and so- on to provide for you and yours. That is all that God requires of you....just make the best life you can for your family. He doesn't ask any more than that. He is watching you give yourself in service to others. He knows you make a huge difference for our patients and for me, the paramedic working with you. There will be a reward for you, I am sure. You are exhausted, miss your family and arrive home from work just in time for some family time and a warm supper. I know that you have often left the family alone and the supper sitting uneaten when the tones ask you to respond to a call. Sometimes, the call requires you to be out all night, rescuing hikers, cavers, drunken victims of collisions, looking for the boater that is not with his drifting boat, old people who wandered away from home, or any number of other things. You know you have to be at work again tomorrow, and you know you haven't had a bite to eat since lunch hours ago, but there you are. You bring every tool or supply you have at home that could be used for the rescue, you drive your personal vehicle either to the station or straight to the scene, and buy the fuel out of your own pocket. I realize you buy turnouts and radios, ropes and harnesses, boots and gloves, helmets and goggles, you even manage to somehow save up for an air-pac! You don't ever use any of this expensive stuff for fun or personal use, yet you bought it all. You use it for free, and never worry about the cost you pay just to help. Training is alot to invest in, too, but you do it for the sake of being able to help us and the patient. Sometimes you have to even pay for the classes, but if someone volunteers to teach you, you're investing endless hours of your valuable time. Thank you. In a few cases, the responders only roll to a call for "good" trauma, but the general rule is that you are there even in the middle of the night to help us get the ones that really should wait for their doctors office, to piece together the puzzle of someone's ravaged body, and everything in between. I really and truly appreciate your assistance at all those times. I know that I don't always get the chance to say it to your face and out loud, but I really am sincerely thankful to you. I know you don't have to do it, I don't know why you do it, but I do know that when my son was the one trapped in the mangled hunk of twisted metal, the volunteers had him freed and packaged before the ambulance arrived. Thank you for helping send him back to me intact. I love you all like a little sister worships her cool big brother! THANK YOU ALL FOR EVERTHING FROM THIS GRATEFUL PARAMEDIC!