LETTER: Silent heroes help to keep us all safe

On July 26, 2019 I fainted while driving by myself along Highway 17 (just passed Mt Newton X Rd). I rolled my car into a very deep ditch. My car continued to slide, narrowly missing all the signposts.

The Central Saanich Police (CSP) were on-site within minutes, deep in the trenches, assessing my situation. The police officer showed genuine empathy and kindness. He compassionately and repeatedly reassured me that no one else was involved in the accident.

An incredible and kind team from the Central Saanich Fire Department (CSFD) showed up that day and I instantly had full trust in them. They worked diligently and efficiently in the depths of the ditch to extract me safely from the sunroof of my car.

I want to acknowledge that both the CSP and the CSFD went beyond their duty of service that day. They swept my car for all my personal belongings and stuffed them in my handbag, including my brand new sandals so that I didn’t have to leave the hospital barefoot. It was these seemingly small acts of kindness from the first responders that went a long way in how I was able to process the experience from start to finish.

I embarked on a gratitude mission to share my appreciation for all those that helped me the day of my accident – the witness, CSP, CSFD and the ER staff at VGH. In search of the last piece of this particular gratitude puzzle, I set about tracking down the paramedic that rode with me in the ambulance to the hospital. He was calm, caring, and compassionate. I was told it would be impossible, but I found that hero too.

I’ve learned that the true heroes are the silent ones. These humble members of the police, the fire departments, the paramedics – not even looking for recognition, appreciation or gratitude. They are selflessly serving our communities, stepping up in unimaginable ways that most of us feel incapable of. Making sacrifices (their families making sacrifices) so that we can be safe. As I thanked each of these individuals from the depths of my heart, I realized that this is something they are not used to.

Often, they don’t know how a person’s story continues. I wanted them to know that what could’ve been a debilitatingly traumatic event turned out to be the opposite for me. I wanted them to realize how much light they shared with me that day. A light that I invite them to trust and tap into, especially in those moments when they are forced to face the darker aspects of their jobs. I needed these heroes to know that the way they showed up that day, helped me instantly shift the accident into a loving and life-changing experience. I couldn’t imagine any other team that I would want to be by my side that day.

Jen Klein

North Saanich

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