First responders signed up to save lives, as in this fire in Langley City last year. Now they’re dealing with a new kind of threat to their safety. (Langley Advance Times files)

First responders signed up to save lives, as in this fire in Langley City last year. Now they’re dealing with a new kind of threat to their safety. (Langley Advance Times files)

Our View: Coronavirus reveals new kind of bravery in first responders

Even those who signed up to save lives and risk their own weren’t expecting this

When you start training to be a nurse or a doctor, you expect long hours and a tough, emotionally demanding job.

You don’t expect to find yourself the key figure in the struggle to save lives amid the worst worldwide pandemic in a century.

All our first responders and essential workers have taken on more than they could possibly have expected when they began their careers – even if their careers began in January of this year.

RELATED: COVID-19: Vancouver Island ER nurse self-isolates in travel trailer, apart from family

Medical professionals, police, and firefighters, care aids and their unexpected essential-worker comrades who are checking out groceries, driving trucks, delivering food, and keeping the lights on and the water flowing in our pipes, have been thrust into danger.

Across Vancouver Island and far beyond, there are tributes to them, large and small. Messages of support chalked on fences and across suburban cul-de-sacs. Colorful paper notes taped to the inside of windows. Banging of pots and pans, and applause at the 7 p.m. shift change.

We often celebrate our first responders, people who put their lives on the line arresting criminals, fighting fires, or saving lives. But we should remember, while many of them expected an occupation with more danger than most, few of them expected this.

It is more than was asked of them. Yet they have stepped up, as have so many others to support them, and to support our community.

In response to these people putting themselves on the line, the rest of us must keep doing our part, small as it is in comparison.

We must keep physically distancing, keep avoiding gatherings, keep the cabin fever many of us are feeling from overwhelming our better judgment.

We are all in this together. But some of us – our first responders and essential workers – are the ones who could pay the price if we don’t do our part.

RELATED: Nanaimo, Royal Jubilee to be Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 frontline hospitals

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