Friday, June 27, 2008

...but somebody's gotta do it.

I was hanging out this afternoon with the guys on C shift at Station 21. Giving back to my community for me comes in the shape of being a chaplain with our fire department.

When my department's tones were sounded on my pager the words that followed weren't good. "Chaplain 16 [that's me] please call Station 16." The phone call said that I was needed at the hospital.

Two little girls - sisters - somehow got into an abandoned car in their neighborhood and couldn't get out. When their mother realized they were gone a search began to find them.

I arrived at the hospital in time to hear the attending physician explain to the mother that the younger sister (18 months) was unresponsive and she was gone. I went with her into the room and watched as they discontinued the CPR and made the pronouncement. Then I stayed with her for quite a while as she held the lifeless body of her baby. All the while, in the very next room her other daughter (not yet 3) was being intubated and being prepared for transport to CHKD in Norfolk. Later I walked the father in to say goodbye to his daughter.

The story is on tonight's news.

As much as I grieve for the parents, it's the emergency responders and hospital staff I'm most concerned about. I've already recieved a call at home tonight from a paramedic who worked the call and was in tears. The cops who met me at the emergency room were sullen. The ER staff was obviously struggling to do their jobs. The firefighters who frantically searched the neighborhood and sound waters have to be devastated. These kinds of calls take their toll, even on the most experienced. Especially when children are involved.

Its' a tough job.


Terry Gray Sr. said...

Praise be to God Rick, for number 1 having someone like you in the position to be reached by the people that need the type of comfort you can offer in this terrible situation. I know in the past I have had to call you and seek comfort with some tough times in my life. I found you to be very compassionate and comforting.
Number 2 for your wilingness to serve your community. It takes a special person to do what you do, where usually one always finds the worst situation.

But I think that this is an oppurtunity for God to use you to influence a person to witness first hand how a true and steadfast trust and belief in God can get us through any situation on Earth, and impact our life after by finding salvation in God the Father.

I have known you quite a while, not always agreed with your positions, but I do know one are consistant in your profession of faith, and your love of God. This is what I think you certainly are there for. To be a witness to the "professionals" and others in times like this. I think we would all agree that the jobs they do are very tough, again, thank God he has put someone like you there to comfort them and demonstrate just how Great God is.

Ellen said...

I've been following Nate's blog for awhile and started following yours as well. This post reminds me of why we support a ministry of men in our church who specifically minister to the first responders to these tough calls. I just wanted to give you a link in case you (or someone reading your blog) is moved to start such a ministry in your neck of the woods. Thank you for serving selflessly - it's always encouraging to read your blog and know that there are faithful believers every where!

Rick Lawrenson said...

Thanks Ellen,
I'm going to check into that further. It looks very interesting.

marcia said...

Thank you for being there for all of those who were touched by your presence, and the God you brought them to, in that situation yesterday, Rick. As for you, I am grateful that you have Gail and a loving and supportive family to come home to after you pour yourself into the lives of others! I'm guessing Gwyneth got some huge, extra special hugs from Grandpa last night, as well!

Mrs Redboots (Annabel Smyth) said...

That must have been such a difficult time for you; thank God that we are given the strength to cope when such things happen, but do take a little time for yourself when you can.

I do hope the other baby will be all right.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I was just wondering how an 18 month old and 3 yr old were wandering around unattended outside? Where was the mother or care giver? My heart breaks for the parents, as well as the people that helped find the children.

Nan said...

Thank you for serving your community by being the FD chaplain. My husband is a firefighter (8 years now) and he has seen some really bad/ hard stuff. When we moved and he changed departments, he went on 3 or 4 CPR calls, and none of them made it. It rocked his world for a while. Your service is immeasurable to the FD. Thank you.