During my eight years with The United States Army Reserve, I trained as both a Combat Medic and a Heavy Equipment Operator. I did not take full advantage of my military opportunities. Looking back, I regret not doing so.

I have spent the past 20 years regretting not becoming a Paramedic. Even now, each time I hear or see an Emergency Medical Services [EMS] Vehicle, my heart skips briefly.

I have the utmost respect for all of our First Responders. Furthermore, where would we be without them? What would we do if they were gone? Who would show up in their place? Sadly, there are people in this nation who, if they had their way, would see them gone.

Recently, events unfolded in such a way that I was able to become a First Responder. Yes, I found a way to contribute during this time of national and worldwide crisis. My position places me alongside Local Law Enforcement, EMS, and The Colorado State Patrol. Each time I’m dispatched to another auto accident or an emergency, my heart skips briefly.

My goals have not changed. I will be a Professional Writer. Between now and then, and possibly afterward, I will continue placing myself out there. I will not stop helping people.

Whether we choose the opportunity or not, everything we survive prepares us for something. We do not always see the path. We do not always realize that a door has opened. We may miss the signs along the way. Sometimes we consciously resist and say, “no, I refuse to take the road less traveled. I’m tired of struggling!”

For several years, I’ve happily taken the road less traveled. I continue to choose the more dangerous and difficult path. Why do I do this? The explanation would require me to keep you here reading for possibly longer than you would like. I will say this; I am not scared. Those situations and events that strike fear into the hearts of most do nothing to change my vital signs. Please understand my words; I am not saying that I’m the toughest man on the block. Nor am I saying that I’m indestructible.

I’m saying this. Because I’ve already lost everything and everyone, there has been a transformation. In many ways, my experiences can be compared to death. I’ve learned what it’s like to lose everything and everyone. I know it’s like not to feel the touch of another human or any intimacy for years. I know what it’s like to live in a house full of people but to be completely alone. I know what it’s like to experience betrayal from someone I’ve [mistakingly] placed on a pedestal. Yes, in many ways, this is comparable to death. I did not lose my life these past few years. Instead, a transformation has taken place.

I write about this often; our pain makes us who we are. The choice is one of free will and is ours to make without question or debate. Where do we allow our pain to take us, and what shall we become?

I have chosen to build a new life, overflowing with greatness and success. I choose to use my transformation to help myself and those who cannot help themselves. Words are powerful. We have the ability to speak our lives into existence. Each time I post my thoughts here for you to read, I am creating another contract with the Universe. I am creating another contract with myself.

Joseph Shanklin

October 8, 2020

10 thoughts on “The Journals [Becoming a First Responder]

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