Volunteering can prove unexpectedly gratifying
A few days ago my wife came home from Hayswood Theatre in Corydon, where she is the treasurer, and said, ‘I volunteered us for something!’ And in my typical supportive spouse voice, I replied, ‘What now?’
I was surprised to learn that she had signed us up to participate in a mock disaster drill in Corydon. The head of the drill had come by the theatre to see if any of the actors would like to help. He said he hoped to have at least seven people participate. Nineteen of us showed up. He was very pleased.
It took about an hour to get everyone ‘injured’ and set-up. The drill leader then called it in (to 911) and the fun began. It was very interesting to be right in the middle of the action but know that everyone around you was going to be able to walk away unharmed.
I was assigned the job of ‘local reporter.’ I did everything I could to get the story and pictures. The firefighters were focused on what they were doing but kept me at bay. As the wandering reporter, I had the opportunity to move around in the scene and watch the firefighters, EMTs and police do their jobs. It was great to see the senior people mentoring the younger ones. Even in a drill, it was evident how much they look out for each other.
I went to the hospital trying to follow-up on my ‘story.’ The staff at the hospital acted quickly, efficiently and caringly. They too kept me out of the way so they could do their jobs.
Afterward, we all met back at the theatre to critique the drill. The drill leader was there to ask questions. Three of the firefighters also showed up. They really wanted to hear what we thought. We shared what we saw that we thought was good and bad about all the respondents’ performances. They accepted our input and also shared some of the reasons behind some of their actions. It highlighted the difficult job they have to do with lives on the line.
The whole adventure lasted from about 6:30 to 10 p.m. I have never felt that I had time to help out with the local volunteer fire department because of work, school, kids … you know the rest. It’s the same things that tend to keep most of us from getting involved. What I found out last night is that even giving 3-1/2 hours can be a big help. The firefighters who came to the critique said that our group provided them with one of the most realistic drills they had ever had. The victims were good at staying in character. The theatre was small, cramped, dark and filled with ‘smoke’ from the theatre’s smog machines.
All of the volunteers have signed up to participate in the next mock disaster. That includes me. I know you can come up with another 3-1/2 hours to help out. My hope is that you will also find the time in your busy schedules to help out in your communities. Like me, I think you will find that any amount of time you can give will be both helpful and appreciated.
And I’ll try to have a better reaction the next time my wife says she ‘volunteered’ us for something.
Editor’s note: The writer and his wife, Linda, live in Georgetown.