As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, we must give thought to returning to a new sense of normalcy. Yes, I believe that when things begin to calm down, which they appear to be doing, our return to what once was will be changed.

Before I share my thoughts, I would like to sincerely thank our doctors, EMS staff, nurses, and all hospital employees, who have been through hell caring for the constant string of patients in need of help. I pray for the families who have lost loved ones to COVID-19. As of May 7, 2020, there has been over 265,000 deaths worldwide, related to the virus. On a positive spin, there have been 1,313,251 patients who have recovered from it. Currently, there are 2,262,826 patients who have the disease with over 48,000 of them in grave condition.

I applaud everyone who is involved with caring for our patients. I thank our newly graduated nurses for their service before they even get started working. I relate their service to a firefighter going in service during war years, or during other times when the horizon looked bleak. The Wildfires of 1995, the crash of Flight 800, the attacks of 9/11 – I could go on. At first, a responder feels exhilarated that they are responding to a serious call. However, when the realization that you are now part of a horrible situation clicks in, you can become worn out and discouraged. It is easy to have thoughts of being a failure, when you feel helpless because you may not be performing up to your own expectations. You may not have been prepared emotionally for the devastation around you. To all essential personnel, everyone around you knows you are doing the best that you can with the skills you have. Do not be afraid to talk with friends or your fellow workers. Talk to your clergy, or anyone else who may have been through what you are going through. As a firefighter, I look back on some of the serious calls I have been on. Why do I sit at times rethinking the calls that upset me? Today we have a name for this. It is call Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD). PSTD is something that has become part of our job. Take a moment to talk to the people around you and share your experiences and thoughts.

When we return to normalcy, share time together and protect one another with encouraging conversation. Why do I love starting my day at the firehouse? Why do firefighters say they miss the firehouse? It is because being around the people who have shared your experiences understand what you have been through. An outsider may not fully understand that the bond we have with one another is what gets us through our rough times. We call this brotherhood. It is that special relationship between close friends or the feeling of kinship with others in the same boat. When two people have a close and loyal friendship, this is an example of brotherhood. When a group of people all share the same goals and tribulations and support each other, this too, is an example of a brotherhood. As responders and what is now called essential personnel, we share the same feelings. You will get through these tough times. Look out for one another and share your thoughts of a better time.