Cooperation Can Save Lives

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On the front page of today's Roundup you'll find a story about a woman who wanted to help save lives. She donated $25,000 to the Payson Fire Department for a thermal imaging camera that can sense body heat through walls a device that can mean the difference between life and death.

We thank this anonymous donor. The first life that is saved will make your donation worth every penny. Although we can't all afford such generous gifts, we, too, can help Payson's firefighters.

The following is an abbreviated version of a letter written by an unknown firefighter that expresses how our patience, understanding and assistance can help:

I wish you could know what it is like to search a burning bedroom for trapped children, flames rolling above your head, your palms and knees burning as you crawl, the floor sagging under your weight as the kitchen below you burns.

I wish you could comprehend a wife's horror at 3 a.m. as I check her husband of 40 years for a pulse and find none. I start CPR anyway, hoping to bring him back, knowing intuitively it is too late, but wanting his wife and family to know everything possible was done to try to save his life.

I wish you knew the unique smell of burning insulation, the taste of soot-filled mucous, the feeling of intense heat through your turnout gear, the sound of flames crackling, the eeriness of being able to see absolutely nothing in dense smoke sensations that I've become too familiar with.

I wish you could understand how it feels to go to work in the morning after having spent most of the night hot and soaking wet at a multiple-alarm fire.

I wish you could know the frustration I feel in the cab of the engine, my arm tugging again and again at the air horn chain as you fail to yield the right-of-way at an intersection or in traffic. When you need us, however, your first comment upon our arrival will be, "It took you forever to get here!"

I wish you could know the brotherhood and self-satisfaction of helping save a life or preserving someone's property or being able to be there in time of crisis, or creating order from total chaos. I wish you could understand what it feels like to have a little boy tugging at your arm and asking, "Is Mommy OK?" Not even being able to look in his eyes without tears (flowing from my) own, and not knowing what to say. Unless you have lived this kind of life, you will never truly understand or appreciate who I am, who we are, or what our job really means to us. I wish you could, though.

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