The Jug

There is a clear plastic jug — actually it is an empty water cooler bottle — that several times a year gets put on the table by the check-in window in operations. A handwritten note is attached asking for donations to help a fellow employee in need. A lot of money has gone into the jug over the years. Few professions know about hard times as much as ours. And we are not immune to them ourselves.

People in EMS don’t make a ton of money. That wasn’t why they went into this work or why they have stayed. Most need overtime or a second job to get by. And when hard times hit, few have the cushion to absorb them. That’s where the jug comes in. It is never enough, but at least it is something. A brother or sister in need. We see the jug and we reach for our pockets. A child with cancer. A bad accident that has laid someone up unable to work and with a long road to recovery. A sudden death. Over the years I have watched my fellow employees put their money in that jug. Maybe a $5, sometimes a crisp $20, others three or four loose crumpled bills and a handful of change, whatever they have on them.

I expect most EMS places have their own versions of the jug. It is Helping others is who were are.

Well, the jug is back up on the table by the window this week. One of our supervisors lost a son unexpectedly. The supervisor and his wife have eight kids. This was their oldest son (26), who leaves behind twin two-year-old daughters. It’s devastating. They are trying to get all the family home from far ranging places to bury him, including one daughter who is out of the country, as well as handle the bills. The money collected in the jug won’t come close to meeting what they need, but it will help. A friend of the family has also set up a gofund account.

You can contribute by going to this link:

I have only known Mark a year or two, but we all like and respect him here. He came up to our division from downstate. He is a 20-year street medic. He put his time in one the road, and that won’t ever come out of him. He deals with you straight. And he likes being on the road more than being in the office. When he shows up on a scene, we know he is there to help. He is one of us.

If you can contribute $5 or $20 or a number representing a few crumpled bills and a handful of change, that would great. Or if the jug is up in your place of work for one of your people this week, do what you always do. It’s why EMS is a family.

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