Stop what you're doing
He shuffles the papers on his desk and wipes yesterday’s lesson off the smart board.
The kids are slowly trickling into his class, jostling with one another as they do so. “Asseyez-vous, s’il vous plaît.”
They’re not paying attention. The bell hasn’t rung. He’ll give them this moment because it’s what kids do. He knows this. He was a kid once too. The bell finally rings. He raises his hand to bring order but he drops it to his waist quickly. A pager on his belt has gone off. He waves through the open door for a fellow staff member to come in and whispers something in her ear.
“Asseyez-vous, s’il vous plaît.,” she says, as they all watch him head down the hall.
She’s got her hands deep in this mess.
They’re covered in flour. They can’t be used for anything else at this moment. The length of hair that has escaped her pony tail waves back and forth in front of her face, taunting her. She blows at it and it flits momentarily. It’s annoying but this is a crucial moment. This mess she has her hands buried in will be a masterpiece and the couple getting married will remember it for the rest of their lives. She will not sacrifice this work of art for a wisp of hair. Nothing is more important than this cake. Until a pager in her back pocket goes off. She has good staff. This moment is crucial.
He’s only recently retired but it doesn’t exactly feel like it.
He’s a dedicated grandfather and he puts as much energy into his grandkids, if not more, than he did into his job. But this is Monday night, this is his time. He’s going to play some hockey, have a beer or two with the guys and talk smack in the dressing room because that’s what his Monday nights are for. He walks into the room and sits down in his spot. The room could be full but his spot is always open. Because it’s his spot. Everyone in the room knows that. But his spot is going to remain empty tonight because a pager in his coat pocket just went off. He picks up his bag and heads back out the door.
She’s a healer. Of sorts.
People come to her to get assistance when their bodies are out of whack. Her knowledge of the body and how she can manipulate it with her hands is a great skill.
Her massage therapy is highly sought after in this town. She’s also a big proponent of preventative measures. She believes that if you take good care of your body, you won’t need to come and see her for her healing knowledge. Along with her good friend and partner, she runs fitness classes in aid of this. She’s good at it.
Now, people are filing into the room, mats are spread out on the floor. Hopefully they’re ready for what she’ll throw at them. This group likes to work hard.
“Are you all feeling it today?”
They nod in anticipation. She’s about to kick it into gear when her gym bag begins to vibrate. She’s going to have to call her friend and partner because her pager has gone off.
His family has been here a long time. Everybody knows them.
They’re good people. It’s a good life living here. This place has treated him well. Sometimes he feels he owes it something. He ran for town council as a form of payback. The pay’s not great, and it can be mentally and emotionally taxing at times, but the sincerity with which he does his duty as an elected official pays dividends in ways that cannot be calculated.
The council room is full-on this particular day.
The dog park has never been his favourite project but it’s important to the people of his town. He begins to rise to address a comment but quickly sits back down and he reaches for the pager in his chest pocket. Fido will have to wait, he thinks, as he excuses himself from the room.
On February 3, sometime after 4 p.m., the home belonging to beloved Jasperites Grandma and Grandpa Han caught fire.
Very soon after, all across our community, pagers belonging to members of Jasper’s volunteer fire brigade began to go off. Where exactly those members were and what exactly they were doing when their pagers began to buzz isn’t the point of this article—in fact, the situations described aren’t necessarily true to the day’s events. But that’s not the point.
The point is, the members of the JVFB have shown they’ll drop everything when those pagers go off. Like Clark Kent racing to the nearest phone booth, they have shown they will put their personal commitments and work obligations on hold for the greater duty of serving their community.
These are just a few stories about a few of our local heroes.
There are many more. These are people who do these heroic deeds for free. They’re volunteers.
Yet they don’t do these things for absolutely nothing. They do them for you. Because your hometown, my hometown, their hometown—our hometown—is everything to them.
On behalf of the people and visitors of the town of Jasper, thank you to the Volunteer Fire Brigade. For your time, your courage and your honour.
You’re all my heroes.