As always, we love when church and community come together to do great things. This year during Lent, the church made a weekly chart of activities families can do together. One of the activities was to “give back” to an organization within our local community. Of course, this was an invitation the Barnett family could not pass up. However, in order, to get into the spirit of this Easter holiday season, our family turned to our #1 little warrior to select who she wanted to “give back to” and without even a pause guess who Ryley selected? Drum roll please….our local FIREMEN.
The great part was not only did Ryley select the firemen to help, but she was so excited she couldn’t contain her excitement as she blurted out – “Can we also make brownies for them Mom? Can we?” Who was I to shatter a little girl’s wish, so, of course we made brownies. The amazing part is Ryley helped make brownies and she didn’t even get to eat one. If you are a Mom of a child under 10 years old, you know what a sacrifice it was for Ryley to the firemen to not eat a brownie, but guess what, she did it without even shedding a tear. Wow, was I proud of my little warrior! Yet what was better than the brownies was Ryley being excited to volunteer. From one woman’s household to another, my heart grew like the Grinch’s heart ten times that day knowing my daughter was as excited as me for our “give back” moment.
Must also admit, the excitement of our “give back” moment grew even bigger when Ryley selected the firehouse. Her choice was so, very, very exciting to me because our local heroes including the firemen have always had a special place in my heart, but 9/11 truly hit home how much these men and women are willing to sacrifice to keep their community’s safe. A job we can no longer de-value. As a nation, it is apparent the job of a fireman is a ton more than calendars and putting out fires, so, it made me happy Ryley got to see and experience this first hand.
Per Ryley’s request, we started off the morning, with a fun mommy and daughter moment as we went shopping and then mixed together the brownies. As soon as the brownies cooled down, we got into the car ready to speed away like firemen. When we arrived and rang the doorbell at the local firehouse, I have to admit it was an anxious moment of what would come next, but as all good deeds go, you usually get more in return than you give. We were greeted with a smile and two husky men who bent down to my daughter’s eye level and welcomed her. These two (must admit adorable) firemen gave us a tour of the department including my daughter’s favorite part; which was seeing the fire engines and their lights flashing. We heard stories of bravery, what it takes to be a fireman, the history of the fire department, and what a typical shift consists of (boy, do they have crazy shifts). The firemen also were great community servants as they loved our story of why we stopped by, they talked to Ryley about the importance of giving back, and they were genuinely interested in what Ryley was up to these days including her baseball team. One of the firemen, being a coach to his son’s team, gave my daughter a lot of advice and encouragement for being on the field. Then he said, good luck to her team for the season, and we left.
However, before we got two steps out the door, we were jolted back as we heard the wail, wail, wailing of the sirens and a firetruck bolting out the door. Like that, the firemen were on their way, like they do every day, prepared to save lives.