It is not easy dating/marrying a volunteer firefighter. There are many nights I’ve spent by myself because Mike has had drill, or a meeting, or a work detail, or a call. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been making dinner only to have him leave to go on a call and I have to eat by myself. We have had people over for dinner and he’s left to go on a call. We have been out to dinner and he has left to go on a call. My friends and family have asked me numerous time how I can deal with this and I’ll admit it can be hard and frustrating at times. However, the truth is, Mike is really good at what he does. This has never been more evident to me than at his fire company’s installation banquet this winter.
Each year the fire department holds officer elections and then there is a banquet to install the new officers. At the banquet there are numerous awards given out and the new officers are sworn in. This year, Mike and another firefighter won an award for an EMS call they had responded to back in March. Basically, Mike and this other guy were first on the scene of a call that went out as a cardiac arrest. Between the two of them they were able to establish a heartbeat and the cardiac patient left in the ambulance with a pulse. He made it to the hospital where he underwent emergency surgery. He survived and is alive and well due to the quick response and medical know-how of Mike and his fellow firefighter.
Now, as the Chief was getting ready to hand out the award and telling the story of the call I was sitting there grinning with pride. At the end of the “story” though, the Chief brought up the cardiac patient and his wife. They had been invited to the banquet and wanted to meet the firefighters that saved the man’s life. The man got up and spoke and talked about how the condition he had that day was actually extremely lethal and few folks survived. He said how lucky he felt to be alive and how grateful he was to Mike and the other firefighter that was there that day as well as to all of the members of the department for all of their hard work. He then gave Mike a hug and handed him his award. The man’s wife was in tears, the man was in tears, the whole place was just about in tears. I was one proud wife.
Later in the night Mike and I were dancing and the man came up to me and said, “Just so you know, you’re danging with my hero.” That’s when I got the tears. Yes, dating/being married to a volunteer firefighter is hard, but the fact is, if I or anyone I know was ever on the other line of that call for help, I would want Mike responding to that call. So, how can I ask him not to go just because it’s someone I don’t know? I can’t. Mike loves being a volunteer and he is saving lives. So, I can handle a few dinners by myself. He is saving someone’s life and that is how I am able to deal with it.