NO DOWN TIME
The carnage happening in the mountains was horrific, and the Rangers there needed help. I didn’t want to just sit by, waiting for my team to bring load after load of wounded back to the base. I wanted to get out there and help. But, at the same time, I was unsure and a bit scared. After the debrief, we went our separate ways. I stepped out into the thin, crisp air and took a moment to look up. Sounds of footsteps on the gravel behind me brought me back.
Crew leader Roger [Sparks], above all others, knew what I needed. He cleared his throat; I could sense a heaviness in his demeanor.
“Tomorrow morning,” he said, “I need you back on alert.”
My stomach plummeted to somewhere right above my boots. He knew it was best, and I think I did, too. I’m sure Roger sensed my reservations, my growing sense of dread and fear. In a way, he was rescuing me from myself. His tall figure hovered over me, his long arm a hoist that offered to bring me up from the depths of fear and what would surely have been a future of doubt and self-loathing.
I had two choices. I could grab the air horn and yell, “I quit!,” or I could do my job. For me, it was a matter of embracing a choice I had been making all my life.