This I Believe

Matthew - Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Entered on December 8, 2006

Today’s world is fast paced. It’s not easy to find time during the day to accomplish routine tasks; meals, shopping, time with the family, work, and many other activities take up a majority of people’s time. However, even as the days appear to get shorter and activity levels seem to increase, I believe in community service. I believe in using my skills and abilities to provide help to those in need; in essence those who are having their worst day.

I can still remember my first ambulance call, I was sixteen. I remember walking into the home of an elderly man who was having trouble breathing; his elderly wife was more scared than he was. The man was frail and was so weakened that he could not move himself. As I helped carry him to the ambulance, he thanked me many times. It was amazing to see the impact that my presence had on him – he appeared to feel at ease and his demeanor greatly improved during our trip to the hospital. I felt that treating this man as a person by listening to him and speaking with him was just as important as the medical treatment. He needed to be comforted as much as he needed to be treated.

Even years after that first call, and hundreds of calls later, I still see the value in providing service to the community. It is not always easy to wake up at every hour of the night for emergencies that some may see as minor. These calls, though, are made by people who feel they are having the worst day of their lives and call 911 as a last resort. I have seen bad accidents, large fires, injured children, and college students having panic attacks. Each call gives me a chance to enter somebody’s life (often as a complete stranger) and have a chance to impact that person in a positive way.

Every time I get on the ambulance, I strive to show humility and compassion. I strive to never get complacent. In this fast paced world, I believe that community service is my means of giving back to a world that has provided me with many gifts and talents. It is my responsibility to use these gifts for the betterment of others. The ability to perform community service is something that I see not as a burden, but as a privilege.