A familiar song breaks the morning silence as many of us reluctantly crack open an eyelid. Perhaps its a reflective retort to a mystical mental trigger or an internal rhythm reminding us of our daily cadence, regardless the cause, it elicits a very familiar reaction. Slowly arising to the increasing cacophony of sounds it takes a matter of seconds and then systematically the day begins. An immediate response, counter-balanced by an internal reluctance. Its an event that occurs each and every day. A battle we eventually win, no matter what the “sleep” price might be.
Up and armed for the day ahead, like many of you, our members are ready to go no matter what the call might be… For many this is just a regular occurrence which might impact one or two family members. To our crews, the impact might be exponential. It’s a responsibility we all accept and simply recognize as part of the “job”. Yet in these challenging times, the balance between reluctance and acceptance shifts slightly to the left. As you can imagine, it’s a natural response, one we all have to consider as we think about what our involvement means. A few months ago, a call out was simply that, a call out to help those in need. Today, however, it is so much more complex than that. Layers that might previously been transparent, have now surfaced as one thinks about complexities that had not existed before Covid-19 reared its ugly head. Sure, its easy to dismiss concerns if its personal but when one’s family might be impacted, the complexity immediately heightens to give one second thoughts.
Of course, every day, the brave men and women of our essential services leave their protective bubbles to ensure that all of us have access to the necessary goods and service we need. This isn’t limited to our health care and emergency services folks but extends to those who continue to toil in uncertain circumstances to keep us fed, fueled and focused. A commitment that without question goes beyond what one might have expected only months ago. An unprecedented commitment to keep us at worst on an even keel and frankly, more likely, in a mindset that empowers us to push forward and defeat this “hidden” enemy.
As the summer draws closer, it becomes our turn to step up and accept this mantle of responsibility. Its one that many of members will have to seriously consider given the uncertainty. It’s not, nor should be, an easy question. Leaving the house in the middle of the night, turning your back on a wife, husband, partner, son, daughter or perhaps a parent, knowing that there is someone out there, unknown to you, in need of a helping hand is not an easy decision. Yet for our membership its one that all of us ponder, day in and day out, as the season draws nearer.
As PARU finalizes her pre-season preparations and her re-launch draws ever near, it’s a decision that crystalizes is one’s mind more and more each day. We are proud of our members and the commitment they have made yet we don’t judge anyone for the personal choices that one must make. Who can question anyone who might pause as they make their way to the door on a call out, and take a second, or perhaps third, glance into a child’s room as the moonlight catches their comforting smile, bringing us back to that first glimpse, often years ago? It’s a seductive image, one many of us have to periodically balance with the belief that no one should have to experience the hopelessness of a dark stormy night out on the lake, afraid and alone.
Now this doesn’t mean our crews won’t respond, of course they will. Our commitment to helping others is paramount and drives all of us each and every day. Even now we continue to train virtually to ensure we are ready to go as soon as we can, no questions asked. But please don’t think this doesn’t come without a price and nor should it. All our crews need to think carefully about this question and ask themselves are they ready to make that decision. For many of us we are ready and for others its just not that simple. To those folks, PARA Marine SAR members or not, we applaud you for listening to the courage of your convictions and support your decision without question.
But for those who chose to head out in these uncertain times, know that we will be there for you when you reach out for a helping hand, its what we believe and who we are…