New Adventures Abound (Volunteering in the Community)

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In my new life (second time around) as a retiree I get to see life in a whole new way. I consider my new employer (Everyday Life) as an adventure because I see things I didn’t notice before when I was working. I have spent most of my retired time volunteering for the Prince George’s County Police and Morningside Volunteer Fire Department.

As a citizen, with time on my hands, I have learned more about the Constitution of the United States than I ever thought I would. In the work world I focused on the policies and procedures of the local governments that employed me. Most of my time with the Constitution dealt Equal Employment Law. I never thought much about “government intrusion” into our lives because as a representative of the government I saw into the private lives of those I served in the most intimate way possible. I had to touch people (with their consent of course) while providing EMS care, and I regularly entered their homes, places of employment and asked them things about their health information that most people had no access to. Government was good. I loved government and I trusted that the people I served with served with the highest of integrity and ethics.

Being on the other side I now see the intrusiveness of government and the dark side of those who want to take away the property rights and freedoms of citizens in a way that I never saw before. I see the same people I served with think nothing of depriving someone of their inalienable rights and get mad when you point out to them that they don’t have the power to do what they are attempting to do.

During this part of my adventure I am meeting people who are simply awesome. While I proudly served with other government workers and had the opportunity to recognize them for their dedication, hard work, valor and acts of kindness, I have gained a deeper respect for the volunteers and citizens who represent the communities they serve. On the Citizen Advisory Councils I served on I saw people who devote their lives to making sure their community is respected and represented. I got to see two very professional and caring P

olice Chiefs as they met with citizens to ensure their agency was responsive to the needs of those they served. I am truly thankful that I got to see those two Chiefs in a different light. Sure, I worked with many Police Chiefs but seeing them as a citizen, I can say Prince George’s County has had two awesome Chiefs in a row, Chief Mark Magaw (now Public Safety Director) and Chief Hank Stawinsky. Two men who have to make the Constitution of the United States an everyday discussion to every citizen’s understanding. Every citizen should get a chance to hear directly from their police chief, especially these men.

The volunteers I now serve and serve with are awesome young people who know nothing else but a life of service. I am amazed at how they think nothing of going into dangerous situations for free. (I am sorry but I never heard of volunteer fire and EMS personnel when I grew up. I grew up in the District of Columbia and the volunteer service was long gone when I met the first fire fighters in my community). The long lineage of service, buying fire apparatus, tools, equipment and ambulances is something they (volunteers) want to do. Equipping themselves just to have an opportunity to serve. The Prince George’s County Government is taking on new initiatives to make sure these volunteers have up to date health care. Legislation is making its way through the Council processes to become law, hopefully. Seeing the Constitution in action at this stage in my life is very gratifying. I hope everyone can learn to respect the rights of others and the private individual corporations that work everyday to make the place we live, work and play enjoyable.

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About managingemergencies

I am a professional consultant with 30 years of experience in managing emergencies. My background and skills gave me the foundation to start Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants. If you need preparedness training or would like to have a preparedness discussion for your employees contact me via email at sysmanemerconsult@aol.com. I held various positions in the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department until I retired in 2007. As a emergency planner and trainer in the Prince George's County Office of Homeland Security I planned exercises and training for government agencies and citizens groups. I was appointed Fire Chief of the Prince George's County Fire/EMS Department in 2009. I started Systems Emergency Preparedness Consultants in June of that year. I had the opportunity to become the Assistant Fire Chief - Operations of the District of Columbia Fire/EMS Department and served for a year as the Interim Fire Chief. I am a trained mediator, mediator team leader and trainer. I also served as the Fire/EMS Department Equal Employment Opportunity Officer.
This entry was posted in Advice, Commentary, Emergencies, Opinion, Politics, Volunteers and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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