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Our thanks to Lt. Jenkins [Army veteran, LEO and EMT] for allowing us to share this heartfelt post ~ j
What I am about to say will be lengthy, and will probably take a lot out of me mentally, but I am doing this for all my brothers and sisters who wear a badge whether Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, or 911 Communications, and especially those who wear dual badges.
I myself am one of those who wear a dual badge. With Law Enforcement as my primary career and EMS as my secondary career. And today, as bad as the day was, is a shining example of what I am about to say and how I feel as one who wears dual badges.
In Law Enforcement every day is a constant reminder of how awful society can be. Drugs, overdoses, gunshot victims, victims of domestic violence, theft, kidnapping, extremely poor living conditions, death notifications, child abuse, all of these things whether directly or indirectly occur every day. The list goes on and on and you have to maintain your professional bearing.
You have to keep a smile every day, remain calm, don’t make any mistakes, be on your Ps and Qs being mindful that one wrong move and the news outlets will annihilate you, while the public chews you up and spits you out. All the while wearing a vest in hopes of keeping you safe from getting shot, and carrying a weapon to protect yourself from harm. Why? Because this is the reality of the profession I chose!
Then you get to go home and love your family.
And for those of us who wear the dual badge, here is where it begins! You wake up the next day and go get on an ambulance, where the next worst part of society hits you. Sickness, death, accidents, strokes, heart attacks, DNRs, extremely poor living conditions, countered with people who use you as a means of transportation vs those who really and truly need the help.
Wearing gloves, masks, waiting for law enforcement to clear scenes, decontaminating yourself just to keep yourself healthy and safe and why? because this is the reality of the profession I chose.
And what do you do.....you keep a smile on your face and everyone MUST receive the same courtesy.
Then you go home and love your family again.
I have been through my fair share of horrible, God awful scenes in my career. Taking point on an entry to an active shooter, sitting around a kitchen table listening to complaints and responding back to the same place moments later only to find the ones who just welcomed me into their home dead from senseless violence. Dealing with the loss of some of my very best friends, coupled with dealing with others who have lost love ones. I’ve been beat up dealing with a dad who just lost a daughter, spit on because I was the one to bring the bad news to another. Called a liar, treated unfairly and unjustly by the local paper. But I just keep chugging along.
The problem here is that we get so wrapped up in what our profession is, that money doesn’t matter. We end up not being able to make it in the “real world” because this is all we know! We stick to it because it just so happens that those we work with become our family and can only understand and share our dark humor, and laugh with us when the rest of the world would be mortified by what we are dealing with. And sadly enough our real families take the brunt end of it.
I am easily frustrated, and stressed by the little things my family can throw at me, and sometimes don’t deal with it properly, or just don’t know how to deal with it at all. Patience has become a work of art for me, and all I want is to feel and be loved by my family, cause anything outside of that is like work! and while every day I give professional advice to those who need it, 99 percent of the time I don’t understand how to take my own advice. I can walk into any of these situations mentioned above with my “armor” on, with my first responder or law enforcement mindset and deal with any stress thrown at me and make it seem as though I’m not bothered, and perform to my peak ability, Yet can’t comprehend the smallest of stressors that take place in my own “not at work” daily life.
As for me I will be ok! I love what I have brought into this world more than anyone can imagine, but there are those of us who are not ok, and I want you to understand that its ok, to be not ok. I’m so tired of hearing the phrase “REMEMBER, it’s not our emergency”, well I hate to tell you but it becomes our emergency. Whether we say it has or hasn’t. Ask yourself, how many times have you met up after an emergency “that wasn’t your emergency” at the station, or in your patrol cars and it was all you could talk about at least for a brief moment, well if it wasn’t your emergency, then there would be no need for the discussion.
I’m gonna leave with this, is there anyone that has just read this post, that can relate? And if so, do you wanna talk about it? I’m all ears and to everyone that knows exactly where I am coming from feel free to hit me up, and lets talk about it!
Today was just one of those days in the EMS world! As for me, its back to the law enforcement side tomorrow!
Lieutenant Jonah Jenkins