I was talking to my friend the other day and she told me how excited she was because she was going to go take a free Ham Radio class with a friend of hers. She isn’t somebody that I would have normally thought would be excited about getting her Ham license. I asked her what made her decide to get her license and she said something that was music to my ears: “I’m really not that interested in using the Ham radio all the time, but when there is an emergency, here or somewhere else, I want to be useful. I want emergency people to know that they can call on me and I can just pick up and go wherever they need me.” Be still my heart, I wanted to cry; I was so proud!
She wasn’t looking for what was in it for her; she just wanted to prepare herself, with a skill that interested her, so that she could help others when there was a need. She is my hero, whether she ever uses it for an emergency or not.
I remember reading several articles about all of the people, at a moment’s notice, left their jobs and families to help those who were in need during Katrina. There were Ham radio communications specialists, firemen, EMT’s, policemen, construction and demolition experts, truckers, and thousands of others who had special talents that were willing to share with those who were in distress.
What are your talents? I know a man who saw a car accident happen. He didn’t have the skills or knowledge to help the people in the accident and it frustrated him. It frustrated him so much in fact, that he didn’t ever want to put himself in that situation again, where he didn’t know what to do, and so he did something about it. He joined the Volunteer Ambulance Crew in his town, took classes to become an EMT and trained as part of an ambulance team member. Now, not only can he see an accident and be helpful, but he is the person you call when you need emergency medical help. He became an invaluable asset to the community, and has been for years.
I don’t think that I would do well being an EMT or a fireman, but I still think that I do need to know first aid. I have my Red Cross First-aid and CPR certificate, I am C.E.R.T. certified and I have my radio license – KE7FGM (and I even have a radio to go along with my license.) I did these three things for the same reason that my friend wants to get her radio license, so that I could be part of the solution during a problem. After all, who wants to be lacking in skills and become part of the problem? Think about it and set out to become skilled.
There are a lot of opportunities in the community to help you achieve what you want to do or what you would like to learn. If you want to become a volunteer EMT or fireman, I’m sure that your community would love to sign you up, if they have a volunteer program. How about getting involved in C.E.R.T. and become an instructor (I do know that they need more instructors, the ones that we have are being run ragged because there aren’t enough). I also know that not everyone can do the rescue thing, and we all don’t do well with blood and guts; I know this because that would be me, but we all have different talents. I can organize things and I can gather and process data. Give my an Excel spreadsheet, some data, and I can rule the world! My family also says that I’m good at bossing people around. I don’t know if they say that I’m “good” at it, or that I just like to do it, but I digress. Can you cook for a lot of people? Are you a good leader or are you a good follower? Both are important. Can you run large equipment? Do you own large equipment? In a past life (pre-children and staying home to raise them) were you a nurse or a C.N.A. or have you had medical training and aren’t required to go help at a hospital? Whatever your talent, share that information with your city leaders so that they know who they can call on when the community is faced with a disaster.
So, I ask again, what can you do? What would you be willing to learn? What do you have an interest in? Do you have knowledge or a skill that you can share and/or teach others? Are you willing to be there for your fellowmen, or even more importantly, for your family? Get on board, find something useful to do and go forth and learn. Remember, “It’s not enough to be good; you need to be good for something.” (Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley) Go ahead, be a hero.