We had an eventful week. My wife, Karen, exhibited at the World Rowing Championship held at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Florida this past week. Fortunately/unfortunately, she needed the help of Responders to complete the week.
This time of year, it is hot and humid in Florida. And it was no exception this past week. Every day the Sun beat down upon NBP, and yet tents needed to be open and made ready. Vendors helping each other out, sharing ladders, climbing ladders and unhooking canvas to be open for business. No point in complaining. Help each other out. Just get it done.
Wednesday was First Responder/Active Duty Military/Veterans day. We sell personal cooling products, and we felt all week we should give them to the First Responders working the event, but never felt comfortable doing so. Wednesday, however, was declared their day, and so we felt that this was the right time. We let it be known, in cooperation with the event organizer, that all First Responders/Active Duty Military/Veterans should come get a free cooling neck band.
Couple of things struck me. First, I was so proud of Karen as she ran all over the park, making sure that uniformed personnel knew of the free cooling neck bands (including chasing them down as they passed our tent). Second, and so moving, was the humility and appreciative nature each received the cooling neck bands. Took my breath away. In the case of First Responders, they would express their gratitude, and we would say, no, it is nothing. These are the folks that when us regular people are told to run away from danger, they are the ones who run into danger!
The Veterans that came by were just as amazing. They are heros. Their heroic days, due to physical limitations, are behind them. But they have great wisdom to share. Kind of hard to put into words what it meant to spend time with those that came by. I am not a skilled enough writer to express it in words. But thank you!
So, Gentle Reader, I have made you suffer through this narrative, and there is a reason. Karen and I had one of the best days of our lives on that Wednesday (and we carried it over to Thursday, truth be told), never expecting that we would need the services of Responders before the event was over.
Sunday morning, last day of the event. Karen's fashion show with breast cancer survivors all set up and ready to go. Me, getting the tent ready to go. And then, Patty, one of our new vendor friends comes running down the path..., "Ralph, Karen has fallen down the stairs coming out of the bathroom trailer, I am going to get medical help!
I went running down the path toward Karen, hoping to God it was not serious! I arrived to find Karen, raising herself from the ground. That, I took, as a good sign. Within mere moments, we had Responders upon us. They came from the Athlete Tent (nice to have that many Sports Medicine professionals on call!) and EMS folks from Sarasota Memorial and others. Soon, we were on our way to Sarasota Memorial's urgent care facility nearby. The staff there were terrific, both in their professionalism and their solicitation of our situation (Karen, despite significant pain, had her Fashion Show at 10:30 AM!). Our Physician Assistant, in fact, was wearing Detroit Lion logo wear (thank goodness the Lions won!) and, like her colleagues, was wonderful.
Did we expect to need any of their services?! No. Were we glad to have them there? Heck yeah! And all the other Security Professionals, Sarasota County Sheriff's, Volunteers, others I am failing to name (they got us back in the park, got Karen a golf cart ride to the Fashion Show, I could go on ...) , and our vendor neighbors who were so supportive and helpful all week, particularly in our time of need!