> While many of us were in bed shaking off New Year's Eve, an ambulance crew rolled out of EMS headquarters on Culver Highway, responding to yet another accident near Bear Drive and Highway 97.
Bad things happen on this stretch of highway year-round, under the best of conditions. On this morning, the first of 2002, a vicious glaze of ice erased the asphalt, and thick fog made a bad scene more ominous and dangerous.
While his coworkers attended to victims of a minor accident, Bob Irwin moved northward up the highway to place flares down, to warn oncoming traffic of the ambulance presence, unaware that his work to save lives was about to end his own so very tragically and prematurely.
We in Jefferson County have recently realized some of the worst that emergency response work can bring. On Dec. 5, Steve Roe was the first to respond to the accident in Culver which took the lives of his wife and three of their four children. To have the New Year start off with the Irwin tragedy is shattering to our EMS, fire and police communities.
It seems to me men and women get into that line of work because they enjoy it: saving lives on the fly, picking up near-lifelife bodies, bringing them to safety, turning tragedies into miracles. They go into the field just regular men and women, but on some days they can indeed be miracle workers.
Throughout the nation, our firemen and ambulance crews are commonly among our best loved, most admired members of our communities. Maybe its the nature of their jobs that bestows that honor among those people, or maybe it's the nature of those people who bring that honor to those jobs.
Mr. Ervin, thanks for doing your job, and may God bless and protect your family. For the rest of the men and women who hop into siren-blazing vehicles and speed off into the unknown to pull your brethren from harm's way, please know how much you're appreciated.