I saw a good internet meme the other day which said "Behind every emergency services hero is a family making other plans". I'm not sure if it's like that for police or ambulance officers or professional firefighters, who work in shifts, but it's certainly true for volunteers. There've been many times when I've bolted out the door in the middle of dinner because my pager has made the squealing noise it makes for a road crash rescue. And there've been many times when my car's been gone in the morning because of a 3am storm damage callout.
Now, this is OK for me: I share a house with my parents and me being there or gone is no big deal. And for several members of my unit, turnouts are practically a couples thing: many people join with their wife or boyfriend or housemate. But for many families, there'd be tales of missed birthdays and ruined dinners and fractured dates because some stranger needed help.
So, all of us who do emergency work - paid or volunteer - let's take a moment and thank our long-suffering families. They put up with middle-of-the-night callouts, or times when we come home so wound up we're no fun, or when we can't stop talking about this or that job. I hope we can say what Richard Lovelace said to his mistress on his going to war -
Yet this inconstancy is such
As you too shall adore;
I could not love thee (Dear) so much,
Lov’d I not Honour more.We couldn't love our families like we do, if we didn't love helping others as much we do.