Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Saving Lives

How many lives have you saved?

That's one way to measure your impact. Firefighters like Captain Harold Lessard and Captain Thomas Nichols gave their lives this week fighting a fire in Winnipeg. They were searching a house looking for anyone that might have been trapped inside. Their heroism, on a daily basis, is obvious to anyone who cares to pay attention. Like those brave firefighters in New York who went inside the twin towers, Lessard and Nichols did without reservation what most of us wouldn't even consider doing even in our better moments. I salute them unreservedly and convey my condolences to their family and friends.

Another example of bravery in attempting to save lives occurred this week on Highway 401 near Cobourg during that horrific vehicle pile up. One truck driver rescued a man trapped in his car, then the two of them unsuccessfully tried to rescue another man. I can't imagine how awful they must have felt, despite the fact that at least one life was saved...watching another life being lost.

There are many around us who save lives on a daily basis that are not in the news. The nurses during the SARS crisis in Toronto who knew they were not protected adequately and yet who went into rooms and helped people with the disease. The surgeons and oncologists who save cancer and other patients on a daily basis. The police officers, fire fighters, ambulance workers, and armed forces personnel who all put their own lives on the line defending others.

But there are yet others worth noting. What about those who don't drink and drive? Or those who obey the rules of the road? Or those who take care of themselves so that they can be there for their children and other family members? What about those who participate in health and safety committees in factories? Or perhaps those who design products and equipment that can be used safely?

Or what about the rest of us? We might not be saving lives on a daily basis or even active in health and safety issues. But if we keep safety in mind, if we help improve the quality of life of those around us, are we too not saving lives?

Today I want especially to salute those who give their lives saving others, people like Captains Lessard and Nichols. But I also want to salute everyone who saves or tries to save lives every day and in many ways.

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