1. I work part-time as a paramedic with the local fire department. I pulled a shift there a few days ago and wanted to share a very humbling moment.
    There is a young man (almost 18) who comes down to the station almost everyday. He has a learning disability, I'm not sure what it is but if you talk with him for a few minutes it becomes obvious that he is challenged. We know he wants to be a firefighter someday and that he looks up to all of us very much.
    the other day I was talking to him and he took a blue ribbon out of his pocket to show me. It was a first place prize in the regional Special Olympics. He told me all about his event and he was literally bursting with pride. I told him to go into the chief's office and show him. Which he did and the chief told him how proud we all were about his accomplishments. I talk with him all the time, but I've never seen that kid happier than he was while we all asked him about taking home 1st place.
    There aren't many places of work where people experience powerful moments like this...but in nursing and also public services, we have the privilege of witnessing this from time to time. It makes me thankful for our opportunities and proud to be a part of them. I thought that the reason I was there that day may have only been to see his ribbon and hear about how he won it.
    Just wanted to share this brief story, hope it put a smile on someone else's face too.
  2. Visit getoverit profile page

    About getoverit, BSN, RN, EMT-P

    Joined: Dec '07; Posts: 448; Likes: 783
    MICU/CCU, fire department paramedic; from US
    Specialty: 18 year(s) of experience in ER/ICU/Flight


  3. by   mamamerlee
    Thank you for sharing this sweet experience. Now you need to find a way to integrate this man's abilities into the firehouse experience.
  4. by   tokmom
    Aww, that is sweet. I have a special needs daughter, so this hit close to home.

    I agree with the prev poster. Can you have this guy do some odd jobs so he feels like he has a job there?
  5. by   nursel56
    What a sweet story, thanks so much for sharing. I cherish special moments and memories like that, too.
  6. by   mustlovepoodles
    God bless you for seeing beyond this young man's disability to the real person he is. As the mom of a 15yo who is severely, profoundly mentally handicapped it means so much to me when people recognise that my son is not just his disability. He is a whole person who has the same feelings and needs that any normal person has.

    I just wanted to give a plug for the Special Olympics. It's a great organization. My son competes in the lowest level of swimming. These kids are the ones who often can't talk and who need flotation devices for safety. But if you've ever seen them in the water you would be blessed. They are so happy, smiling, flapping, splashing along like it's just the best thing in the world. These kids couldn't care less about a ribbon, it's all about the swimming and the cheering. Each one has a helper who gets in the water with them. The helpers are not allowed to push them along, but they can shout encouragement. It is a sight to behold.

    If any of you ever have the opportunity to volunteer with Special Olympics, jump at the chance. You *have* to see the opening ceremonies. It's very much like the real Olympics where the athletes walk onto the field and the run, walk or wheel the torch in. I'm telling you, there is not a dry eye in the house. If you could see and hear and feel the enthusiasm, your life would be changed forever.

    Thank you, OP, for telling your story. I know this boy's mother must be soooo happy that you have accepted her son. I would encourage you to find ways to letting this young man be a part of the department. It would make his day, and yours too.
  7. by   getoverit
    Thanks to everyone. I have seen a special olympics opening ceremony and it was incredibly moving.
    For all the comments about finding something for him to do at the firehouse: he does small things around the station like sweeping the floor, helping us move equipment around, etc. We have a very strong department and even if he never was able to obtain a paid position with us, he would still be more than welcome to volunteer once he became 18.
    I only hope that his desire to be a firefighter isn't met with disappointment if he isn't able to do that as a career. I'm not sure what his level of capability is, but I am completely confident that when he gives you his word you can take it to the bank. and to me, that's just as important, if not more, than "book smarts" and technical skill.
    Thanks again.