All week long we have seen images of people who in the midst of terrible tragedy ran towards the victims, ran selflessly into the danger with one purpose in mind: to help another and often times the other was a stranger. Stories of loss evoked tears to flow but the words, “Boston Strong” emerged as the community identity. We witnessed such solidarity of purpose and compassion… thunderous gratitude for all those first responders and tremendous concern for all those beginning a very long journey of healing.
In West Texas, we once again witnessed the immediate garnering of people to address so much pain left in the wake of a huge explosion but while these events rightly called for tremendous media coverage, there are so many places with supportive acts reflecting the true experience of community which go unnoticed.
The Saturday before the Boston Marathon, I spent the day in Lancaster, Pa. Over the past 45 years, the very private Amish community step into the public light to raise funds in support of their local Rawlinsville Fire Company. They want to show their appreciation to the heroic men and women who volunteer their time to ensure everyone in their community is safe and secure. A minimum of 180 hours of training are required but so many have gone above and beyond that. Learning how to carry frantic people down ladders while a fire is blazing is just one of the many emergency situations they must be prepared for. I would like to add my voice of gratitude to Chief Carl Strickler Jr., Deputy Chief Rich Fuhrman, Assistant Chief Kevin Boyer, Lieutenant One Aaron Neely, Lieutenant Two Matthew Watson, Captain Dave Walter and Fire/police officer Ray Scott for their generosity of time in providing me with interviews and how great you all were in helping me achieve different vantage points to photograph (a special thanks to Rich for great ideas and Aaron for taking the camera to the roof!)
Last Saturday, I was in the midst of true community spirit and during the week witnessed extraordinary collaboration and cooperation merging with dedication and commitment to each other.