Answering the call

Published 5:08 pm Monday, September 5, 2016

On June 9, a near tragedy struck one Beaufort County family. It was supposed to be a happy occasion — a graduation ceremony — but it quickly turned into a life or death situation. While life was the victor in this case, that victory can only be attributed to the actions of local first responders.

For many years, the phrase, “It takes a village…” has been part of the American dialogue. Indeed, it does take a village for not just one, but all, to succeed and thrive.

In Beaufort County, there is an entire village of first responders operating behind the scenes to ensure its residents are safe and healthy, and get the treatment or support they need during emergencies.

They are telecommunicators and EMTs, paramedics and firefighters and more.

These are people who don’t simply punch out on the clock at night and leave the job at work. For most, these professions are callings — the call is to save lives. During the incident at the graduation ceremony in June, before dispatched paramedics arrived at the scene, there were EMTs and nurses who stepped out of the crowd and stepped up to save a woman’s life. Before paramedics arrived at the scene, telecommunicators had already diagnosed a stroke in progress and dispatched a helicopter from Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, knowing time was of the essence.

It took teamwork, a village of first responders, to give the story a happy ending.

It happens every day. Lives are saved, and those doing the saving fade again into the background once the emergency is over. They are rarely thanked for what they do and often do not learn the outcome of those they treat in the field.

Every now and then that changes, such as last week, when the governor recognized Beaufort County telecommunicators for their life-saving actions on June 9.

All residents of Beaufort County should take their cue from the governor. Recognize those who may be the last the line of defense between life and death — with a “thank you,” a card, a small act of generosity — to acknowledge the impact of their work and thank them for answer the call in this particular village.