It is freezing cold out there today, but the sun is shining and the roads are clear and as long as there are warm coats in our closets we are good. Which brings me to my story for today.
Last night I was on ambulance duty. That means that between eight at night and six in the morning, if someone needs an ambulance, I go. I have a squad of other volunteers that I'm part of and at least three of the five members of the squad have been working together as a team for over ten years. So wee been through a lot together. And the same three of us have been in EMS for over twenty-five years, so there is plenty of experience on this squad.
I have loved being part of the emergency services program all these years and it's my favorite kind of community service. But I will make this confession: I no longer enjoy being on duty during the dead of winter. I used to take some pleasure in plowing through the snow drifts to get to the ambulance back when I was younger, but no longer really. I come in chilled to the bone and unable to sleep and, well, it's just not as much fun as it used to be.
But then, last night happened. We were called out about ten o'clock. The temperature was hovering in the teens. I went grudgingly. But then things turned around. We were called to a local church, which seemed odd, until we went in and I realized this was where the Maureen's Haven program was being held that night. Maureen's Haven is the program to provide warm housing for the homeless people in our town who have no shelter from the cold. It's a great program, we'll run by volunteers and made possible by the members of our local churches who open their doors on different nights for these folks.
Our patient was a soft-spoken, sweet person who had taken a fall. He was well-dressed and neat-not what you might expect of a homeless person. The homeless here in East Hampton are largely working poor-holding down jobs so they can feed themselves, but not able to afford the crazy rents around this town. There but by the grace of God.....
I came home feeling very fortunate to have a warm house, to be able-bodied, and to work for my community in such a fulfilling way. On a cold, winter night, it was nice to be reminded of all those things.