God bless the first responders

I moved to Stetson, a small town a few miles out of Newport, Maine back in 2009. One of my first thoughts was that I would study to become an EMT, and join my small town’s volunteer fire department.

Then a young girl, wearing a helmet but going very fast, screamed by me on an ATV headed for a trail in the woods.

That was when I started thinking. Thinking of all the stories I had ever heard about small town kids who get bored, and go out and do crazy things.

They have their whole lives ahead of them, and they think they are always going to be OK. They get brave, and then something terrible happens.

I thought of my young son, then almost 4, and I thought of the small school in town and how there were less than 40 kids from kindergarten through second grade, and I realized that I would come to know many of these kids.

My imagination is very vivid, and I could see myself at the scene of a late night rescue call on a rainy Saturday looking at the broken bodies of children who could very easily be children I had watched grow up with my son…Or worse, it COULD BE my son.

That ended my thoughts of becoming a first responder. Call me weak, call me a coward. It doesn’t matter. I know from experience what I would do if a car crashed on my lawn, and lay overturned with its driver inside, and flames coming from the under carriage, but I do not have the courage to risk seeing such tragedy in my life on purpose on a daily basis.

Sadly, on Sunday morning, first responders in Glenburn were called to a scene similar to the one in my mind.

Two teenaged boys had been driving along Rt 15 in Glenburn, on wet roads and had a crash that ended their lives.

The front end of the car sheared off. The passenger compartment demolished. A sneaker can be seen in one photo.

Photo obtained via Penobscot County Sheriff's Office media release

Photo obtained via Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office media release


!!!Capture__Comments on the facebook page of The Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department were made by people who thought they had recognized the car.

A few commenters thought they knew the boys who had died. One commenter went so far as to name them, although the Sheriff’s Department had been waiting out of respect to the family.

I can not imagine how the families are feeling this rainy Sunday, but my thoughts turn to those first responders who choose to place themselves in situations like this.

Most of the time they do not have a lot of information to go on. They just drop what they are doing, and rush to the scenes of crashes, fires, illnesses, and numerous other types of accidents where people are hurt, to do what they can to help.

How many of them have been on the scene of a horrific accident only to be able to comfort somebody who lay dying, and unable to be saved? Calming them, holding their hands, talking to them so they are not alone when they take their last breath.

While I know others are touched by tragedies like this: The poor folks who live in the homes near the scene of accidents, the doctors and nurses who care for the victims of accidents like this, drivers, or passengers of vehicles involved. Their feelings in tragedies like this are not to be downplayed.

But first responders, especially those from an all volunteer department deal with events like this because they care. They often don’t get a lot of money, and likely never really get the thanks they deserve.

I wanted to give a shout out to the first responders to let them know I am thinking of them anytime I hear of a tragedy like this. I wanted to let them know they are thought of, and they are appreciated.

God bless the first responders, and reward them for their courage, and compassion!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.