Saturday, April 20, 2013

Good Out of Bad

This was a week that stretched the emotional boundaries.  We saw the Boston Marathon breaking down due to pressure cookers filled with shrapnel stuffed in backpacks killing and maiming innocent people for reasons unknown.  I sat glued to my phone as I was waiting to pick the kids up at 2, just as the story was breaking.  I sent the kids upstairs and watched in horror as the pictures and storied unraveled before my eyes.  I am a news junkie.  When I got home, I had my laptop on Facebook, my phone on Twitter and Fox News on the TV.  I just couldn't believe that, yet again, this was happening.  I remember watching this in Beirut as a child, never expecting that it would happen here.  Never.

And then the Facebook world blew up, my text messages went a mile a minute with the West, TX fertilizer fire.  And that hits so close to home.  It could be any one of our firefighters that might not come home after a fire like that.  I know the guys joke about accidentally on purpose hitting the ditch with their rigs in the case of these kinds of fires, but they would all go in willingly to a scene just like it.  It could be anyone of our loved ones at any time.

And, as Americans, in a time a of crisis, we pull together.  We support each other and we donate.  We give our hearts and souls; our time and our pocketbooks.  One of the most profound ways I have seen are t-shirts.  They make a stand.  They share a message.  They tell the world that we are strong and you cannot break us.  

I had to literally remind myself of this.  I have 9 more days in my cast.  This morning, I took B to the grocery store with me.  As we got in to the store, someone took the last motorized cart and found myself grumbling that they did not seem to need as much as I did with my crutches.  And I literally scolded myself out loud.  There are way too many people whose images have made their way around Twitter and the mainstream media to have 9 days until they get their leg back.  And it will never happen for them again.  I felt like such a spoiled brat.  I am just fine on my crutches.  And I was not at all tired by the time we were done; I am fire strong.

A local company, Ink to the People, have been asked to print the Boston Strong t-shirts. The people behind the shirts were hoping to sell 110 shirts to support Boston.  Instead, they have sold over 12,000 (as of yesterday morning) and raised over $80,000!!!!  I have ordered one and will wear it proudly!  We are Boston! put together a few shirts to help as well. Men's and women's shirts are available.  There will be a donation made to the West Texas families for each shirt ordered, as well as a tangible reminder to us in the fire world that we are Fire Strong.  We all know that the water heater will explode and the kids will puke when he is on shift, that is just the way life goes.  But, we can handle anything that life throws at us because we are Fire Strong.  We can even handle the worst case scenarios, because we are Fire Strong and we will have the whole Fire World standing behind us and lifting us up when we stumble.  Be Fire Strong! West, Texas - we stand behind you!

And as if one is not enough another group of Fire Wives at has also put together a t-shirt to raise money for the families effected by the tragedy we watched before our very eyes.  We in the Fire World are an amazing group, if I do say so myself. 

Please consider buying a t-shirt or donating to one of these amazing causes.  There are people who are at the lowest moments of their lives.  They need to know that they are not alone and we are standing there with them.  Please, if you donate money, be sure that your donation is legit.  There are far too many people willing to take advantage of our hearts at moments like this.  Don't let them.  Do your homework.  You can indeed trust all of the above links.   If you are looking to donate to the West, TX families, the National Fallen Firefighters Fund is accepting donations. 

NFF Fund for Fallen Firefighters & EMS

Mail donations to:
NFFF c/o West, Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund
P.O. Drawer 498
Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

If you are looking to donate to the Boston families, you can do that online through the One Fund or send a check by mail to:

One Fund Boston, Inc.
800 Boylston Street #990009
Boston, MA 02199

Now, if only we could give of ourselves when there is not a crisis, but just someone in need.  A family that is struggling, the homeless going hungry, the lonely in need of companionship.  If only we could remember that we are our indeed brother's keepers, just because it is a day ending in Y and not because CNN brought us images that we can't erase from our minds.  Just because it is right...

Allow this to change you.  Allow these HORRIBLE experiences to bring out the best in you and make you a better person
Just because...

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