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CLINE: The humility of heroes

Todd Cline

Todd Cline

Humility is a heck of a thing. You’ll be reminded of that again if you take the time to read the story in Wednesday’s paper about the ceremony held this week to recognize a pair emergency workers who played roles in saving Deborah Walsh’s life.

The workers mett Walsh on Monday at Fire Station 27 in Dacula, coming face-to-face with a person they helped save for the first time. It was a way to celebrate not only the actions of firemedic Sidney Garner and 911 operator Cassandra Ramos but for Walsh to give her thanks to a pair of people for whom she’ll always be grateful.

Garner and Ramos would also agree that the ceremony is a reminder of the many folks who work in emergency services. They don’t do their jobs for glory, commendations or ceremonies, but to help, and sometimes save, people. To them, it’s just what they do. But to someone like Walsh, who faced her own mortality during that day a year ago, it’s much more than that.

After the ordeal, Walsh said she’s learned that every moment is precious. Maybe none more than getting the chance to personally thank two of the people who helped save her. “This wonderful year that we’ve had wouldn’t have been possible without them,” she said.

While Garner and Ramos were happy to meet Walsh and see her healthy and in good spirits, they were quick to deflect praise. Again, to them they were just doing what they trained to do. And like good teammates, they were also quick to compliment others, like Walsh’s husband Robert, who played a role in helping.

“I don’t have the words for it,” Garner said. “It’s hard for us to take the credit when her husband started the CPR that saved her life. … It’s excellent to see her again.”

The way Garner and Ramos handled the situation – not only the emergency part but the ceremony as well — is a lesson to us all. In today’s society it’s easy to get caught up in games of “who deserves the credit” or “that’s not my responsibility” — but no matter what your occupation it should come down to doing your job and doing it to the best of your ability.

Funny how when you take care of that the credit and compliments take care of themselves. It reminds me of a quote from Mark Twain: “To be good is noble. To tell people how to be good is even nobler, and much less trouble.”

People like Garner and Ramos don’t tell folks how good they are, or jockey for position to catch whatever credit is tossed out. They show a humility that serves them, and in turn us, well. In doing so they receive, and deserve, the praise they never sought in the first place.

Walsh said it best: “They are my heroes.”

Humble ones. The best kind.

Email Todd Cline at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Wednesdays.