command

Player Of The Year

water boy

 

The whistle was going off and it was time. I looked over to the coach and he gave me a nod, a command of sort, to get out there and do my job. I started running from side to side and dodging other players, hitting shoulder pads from time to time. I got hit from the side and almost fell down, but with my sure feet that was not going to happen. I can hear the fans cheering and I look up at the time clock to witness that time is running out. I reach down into my container and pull out a water bottle. I bring it up to another players mouth, enticing him into a squirt of water hoping to rehydrate him. I am the Water Boy and proud of it. I look to the sidelines and get hand signals that it is time to come back off the field. The few minutes of adrenalin I received in that short moment had fulfilled me. I am the water boy and proud of it.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

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Montico Passage

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I was stationed on a Cruiser Class Ship, our team of ten was giving orders to go to Montico and capture the wife of the ruthless leader of that Country. He was killing his own people with chemical warfare, dropping barrels of cow manure all over the place. The moss in that region was poisonous if it got beyond five feet in diameter. The manure would speed up the process and would grow at extreme rates. The toxin from the reaction would turn into a vapor and would take over whole communities.

We had been traveling for three days in rough seas when I looked out and could see a land formation. It was a very foggy day and we were traveling at about twenty-two knots straight ahead. Ahoy! My mate responded over the Microphone Paging System. The other sailors and I looked out the port side and realized that it was not land but an enormous blob of  moss. We couldn’t turn quick enough to escape the carnage and slammed into the moss with a crunching sound. The hull of the ship was being ripped apart and we needed to get to life boats in a hurry. I ran to the side of the ship and lowered the life boat. It came crashing down into the sea with a loud crashing sound. Splash! Water came flying up into my face and I shook the water out of my face so I could concentrate on getting people onboard. All the sailors and I made it to the life boat just in time, we looked out, our ship was sinking fast. We had survived but now had to find a way to shore, or wherever shore was.

Drifting out at sea with ten other men was very hard, we all had to conserve on water and food if we were to survive. One man hollered out that he could see land, only this to be an illusion of such. A man’s mind can do funny things with lack of food and water. It was my watch and everyone else was sleeping when I looked out over the horizon and could see land. I could also see lights on the land mass, I woke everyone to let them enjoy the excitement I was feeling.

We made it to shore and there was a man dressed in a uniform of some sort, some kind of official of his land. He replied, where do you people arrive from? We are from the United States Navy and my name is Josh Milfred, how do you do sir? The man was not a very friendly person. I told him about our mission to get to Montico. He replied that there is no Montico on this part of the region, and none in any other maps we have in storage. I was dumbfounded by this information, there had to be such a place. Again, I checked the spelling, and again I was rejected in this origin of Country. This man then told his soldiers to arrest these intruders to his country. ARREST THEM NOW! Was the command, his men responded to carryout these orders.

We had been into a cell for years now. There was water and food delivered daily, this was what kept my men and I alive. The commander of this jail came to my cell to have a discussion. Sir, You have been here now for five years, Yes, I replied. It is of this day that I give you information of the whereabouts of where you and your men reside. This is the Country of Montico.

Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

When The Smoke Cleared

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When the smoked cleared I stopped for a moment to realize what tragedy I had just witnessed. I stood there, sounds of the regulator, clicking in and out. It was just me and my thoughts. Had I done enough to prevent a loss for this family I had known. I battled the fire with such force and I gave it all my strength to the end. The smoke is all that remains, a tear forms in my eyes. How could I save the little girl in the room upstairs. I couldn’t go up the stairs because of fire from the top to the bottom. It would be the sure death of me if I made that decision. I had to make a split second decision of life and death, mine over hers.

We as responders are faced with decisions at times that no one ever wants to make. We are faced with the aftermath of those decisions. It at times feels like a general sending his soldiers into war knowing the outlook that many men will be sacrificed. Being an officer in a fire department can and will affect peoples lives. Your own men going to battle for the decisions you make.

I hope that I am never faced with the fact I sent men into battle with loss of my own men. I’m not sure I could live with this fact, instilled in my mind forever. This happen’s everyday with first responders. No one ever want’s to hear that someone has died trying to save someone. It is fact, that we are the last resort in many situations. We train for such emergencies, but in the end the tragedies we witness sometimes are forever etched. PTSD syndrome is very real and many people whether it be war, or being a first responder is affected in some way. How can we not be? We try to go home and console with our spouses but they do not understand what trauma we have been witness too. There is help out there. Your local departments should provide help, all you need to do is ask. We provide post CISD or Critical Insident Stress Debriefing, after a tragic event. It is this where we can all talk about what happened to start the process of healing the mind.  http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo27917.PDF

The smoke is clear now and my heart is pounding. I have just talked with a professional about things I have been witness to. I know I have a reason to be a responder. Glad to know someone is out there to listen to us.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

 

MY PTSD

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Sgt. Richard McCurry was leading his men down a street in Anbar, Afghanistan. He had briefed his men before they walked down the street and informed them to watch all the roof tops. The Taliban would stage up on roof tops and shoot down on the soldiers as they walk down the streets. This was just another day for the soldiers and they moved slowly down the one street watching every corner. I was the third man in this group with Sgt. McCurry walking directly behind me. I had been assigned to WHA- Watch His Ass- This was an important assignment because not only that you had to watch for the enemy, you had to keep your leader safe.

We kept moving forward when all of a sudden gunfire rang out, my heart about exploded with total fear. I looked down the street and lying face down was our point man Jermaine. He was a soldier out of Jacksonville, Florida and was an outstanding athlete in high school. His goal was to sign up for the football draft when he got out of the Army. My worst fear was that Jermaine was not alive. We walked up to him with bullets flying in all directions. It took a few minutes to get up to him and I think I shot a few Taliban along the way. I rolled Jermaine over and he had a smile on his face. He blinked his eyes and said it was a good thing he had his Easter peeps in his pocket. I told him I don’t understand. The bullet hit the package and deflected the bullet. I told him to get up quick and start shooting. We needed to get out of this hot area as soon as possible. Jermaine got up real fast and brought his M16 to firing position and started firing. He took one step forward and another shot rang out and Jermaine fell to the ground again. I walked up to him and there was bleeding coming from his mouth and he was not moving. I could see the color being removed from his face. Jermaine had passed right in front of me. All his hopes and dreams were stopped right at this moment on the streets of Afghanistan. I stood there for a few seconds to reflect what I had just been witness too. I thought to myself, and asked a question. Why am I in this place?  I didn’t have time to answer because out of the corner of my eye I could see a Taliban on the roof top ready to shoot. He was aiming his weapon directly at my Sargent. I brought my M16 up real quick and with rapid fire I took down that enemy.

Our group finally made it to the end of the street and there was a tall cement wall that we all got behind for protection and to access the situation. Sargent McCurry told us that we had to go back down that street and retrieve Jermaine. We never leave another soldier behind. Back down the street and again the shooting started. We shot at them and they shot at us but we retrieved Jermaine and dragged him down the street and behind the wall. Our radio man called for a helicopter to come and bring him back to our base. They brought a Chinook helicopter which brought our whole troop back to base. Sargent McCurry had all of us pay our respects to this soldier we lost today. This is what he said to us. You all fought hard today and you win some and lose some. I just want you to remember this young man today and know that he fought for his country. He gave the ultimate sacrifice and to know that in any situation that I hope you will give that same to save others. We all bowed our head in prayer for Jermaine.

Life moved on and I was in a lot of other firefights but I will never forget this one day we lost Jermaine. It has now been 10 years since I have been back to civilian life. I am having trouble sleeping and every noise I hear outside reminds me of a firefight. I cannot drive down the highway without thinking it is an ambush. How can I forget all this and go back to normal life?  They never told me that my mind would be damaged like this. I have talked with other vets from other wars on how to relieve these horrid memories. They all told me you will never forget. You just have to move on and realize what you have done for this country.

This story is a fictional story, I do not want to have this bring back bad memories for our soldiers, but do want to realize that PTSD is very real. You cannot go through traumatic situations like war and not have some kind of PTSD. Please reach out for help, Like the old soldier replied, you never forget what you have seen. It is the help that redirects some of these thoughts and gives you second chance of life. You do not need to deal with this alone.

©Bilodeau,D.H. 2014

Of Medical Attention- Please!

imagesWho is there for me? I sometimes wonder if something happened to me that a responder would be near enough to help. Living in a rural community, the rescue service tries their best, but at times they could be quite far away. I hurt myself last summer and I was trying to make a decision to call for an ambulance or drive myself. It is hard making decisions in the moment. I sliced my hand, no it was not life threatening, so I decided to drive the truck to a local doctor. Still not a good decision but I made out reasonably good. I was stitched up and off I went.

I am a first responder at my workplace. We usually have three or four  guys that I work with responding to medical calls. It all depends usually how many of us are there. Someone might be on vacation, or taking a paid sick day. I sometimes wonder if something happened to me in the mill would there be someone to help me, like I have helped others. It is hard to get people to sign up for this extra duty when they are already doing their normal positions within the facility, including myself. I work as a electrician normally, but still respond to fire, hazmat, and medical calls. I  put myself into this position because I did this for 20 years at another industrial facility. I was not going to throw away a chance to save someones life if needed. I really do enjoy doing this stuff. But who is there for me?

Are people not signing up as responders for a reason? I wonder if they are scared of what they will see. Yes, I have been witness to some horrible stuff, but I look at this as part of my job. I would want the next person to help anyone in dire need. Bystander’s are always around when we have incidents, but are usually just standing there. I know these people would help out in any situations of an emergency. But still they hold back from signing up as responders.

The fact that I’m sitting here all alone right now and thinking about what if something happened to me right now? I  think that every human should have one of those life alerts available to them. I’m not just talking a cell phone. You might not be able to speak. I am going to ask the government for a grant so that all Mainers can use this service for free. I will call this service the Healthcare  Act 2014. Calling ALL MAINERS- YOU CANT GET THERE FROM HERE if you don’t have your new government issued life alert device.

On a serious note: Really, have you ever set out a plan as to what you would do in an emergency of medical attention? It is hard to put a band aid on your finger with one hand when the other is bleeding. DARN-IT I just spilled hot coffee on my foot. Oh the pain, so what do I do now? Goo on Boo or not? The answer is somewhere in a book, or on the computer, but now the foot is starting to bubble up and the pain is serious. Now you cannot walk to call for help, your starting to feel a little dizzy. I have the answer! Hit the Life Alert Button on your new Government issued button.

I will always try my best at being a medical responder and I would hope that some day if you ever thought about doing this stuff to please reconsider it. A life is worth saving. Enjoy the day folks, I’m styling in my new Government Issued Alert Button.©2014 Bilodeau,D.H.

Your Alarm My Alarm

imagesA2GVRIWXI never understood this logic. Two alarm settings on the clock for my spouse to get up early. The first one set and the other 45 minutes away. The only problem I see here is that I do not have to work in the morning and my spouse is sleeping on the main floor on the couch.

This first alarm wakes me up and I go downstairs, start the coffee, cook up some bacon, and start French Toast all before the second alarm goes off. I make sure the spouse is fed good before she goes off to work. I still do not understand this alarm logic. Why set the alarms if you don’t plan on waking up to them. They were not certainly set for me were they?

Our lives are programmed and set and reset by electronic devices. One of these days in the future there will be no alarms so I might as well enjoy the joy of an alarm, right? Beep- Beep- Beep,  time to get up! Oh that was the coffee pot telling me it is ready. Beep- Beep- Beep, that is the neighbor driving by saying hello in the morning. Beep- Beep- Beep, Oh man that is the second alarm. I think I’m going crazy.

©2014 Dwayne Bilodeau

 

Donation of Life

untitledI haven’t giving blood since 1981. I had a bad experience back in Arizona. The guy was a newbie and I was the guinea pig. It was a mobile unit that was setup at my school. The guy proceeded to put the needle into my are and nothing came out. He then tried to find the vessel by moving the needle back and fourth. I noticed that he was starting to turn palor. I told him to relax and said it is ok just take his time. The color was leaving him real fast then he collapsed to the floor. The other technicians had to remove him. I kinda felt bad for this guy but really wonder if he stayed into the field. It wasn’t too long afterward that I noticed bumps in my arm. These were scar tissue that built up because he was digging around trying to find my vessel. So that is really the reason I didn’t give blood for a long time.

I do believe that giving blood is the best thing to do. I would want blood if I ever was in need. My blood is o negative which is the universal donor. I can give mine to any other blood type. The only problem is that I can only received o negative. Maybe I’m wrong in today’s standards but that is how it used to be. I do feel that I made a little difference and felt good doing it.  Give someone a life- Go out and donate. Ya, Listen to me trying to make a pledge. I do believe so much in the Red Cross and all they do. Happy Holiday’s

Shall It Be Duty

untitledAn unspoken relationship you wouldn’t really understand if you have never been in the Armed Services. I have not, and try not, to be any expert on anything pertaining to such. I can understand how your comrades have a connection with you no matter what branch of the service, or what wars you fought in. It is this connection that no other can explain unless you were there. We run across men and woman on civilian grounds and tap their backs to thank them for their service. It is this what us Americans have a duty to the United States of American. Our children have fought these wars and have been witness to horrific incidents in time. They deserve every respect from their fellow-men and woman. I ran into a fellow at an incident where I live the other night. He was in a car accident and went off the highway and rolled over his vehicle. His license plate stated Vietnam Vet. It took me back in time of him as a young man walking in the jungles with his comrades. He walked past me and my other piers and the exact words out of his mouth. I am a Vietnam Vet, I don’t take crap from no one. For what this man had been through as a young man I am positive he wasn’t kidding.

The impacts we all have been witness to in our years are etched. We cannot forget the moments in history, and this man is a keeper of this history. Some will talk and others will hold this information because it is too painful. We Americans do understand. We have been witness to the collapse of the World Trade Center. We will not forget. So many lives lost and impacts to so many family’s. Time will heal the wounds. I do not really believe this statement . How can you heal a wound that never healed?  It is an open wound forever. People say our Government needs to take care of these people. Yes they need to help, but these are our people, and we all need to help in any way possible. You and I are no different. We breath the same air. I have a Ford and you have a Chevy. I don’t really think we are any different ,we still sit down and turn the wheels the same way.

I hope this gave some perspective into a Non Veteran Status. Please never forget these veterans of war, or other horrific events in history. Do however, remember they are human just like you and I.

Trouble With The Biosphere

bigelow-stationI was the chosen one to be accepted to be commander of a new science lab that was going to be in space. This station would be in space for five years and would provide its own food. There was animals and plants. There would be five men and five woman on this adventure who would control all the systems. The Biosphere, with the garden, was a large bubble and open for viewing all the stars. It was a wonderful place to be, and you could sit in the recliners for hours just dreaming. We had to have insects too to make sure pollen was distributed to all the other plants. The butterflies were so magical in their own way.imagesHRK931PW

We had been about three years now into this scientific adventure when one of my officers came up to me with disturbing news. Sir, he saluted me. We are following a large asteroid which is only hours away. It is larger than earth and is in a direct path with us. According to my calculations there is no way we can maneuver to escape. Sir, we only have one choice, and that is to separate the Biosphere. This is our only food source, certainly we will not survive without it, I said. Please sir, this is the only way, the officer stated. I want all officers on the deck at 0230 hrs, we must make a decision. Sir, the officer replied, and off he went to his station. The time came and the decision was made that a separation is going to happen. We knew that without food we would not survive for a week or less. The time had come.

With all men and woman in the control room we set the countdown for separation from the main station. Some of the woman and a few guys had tears in their eyes. The fact that the Atrium which they had been taking care of for three years, was being remove, but also the fact the chances of survival was very low.  I could understand and felt the same. This was my command and all these people I was responsible for was losing everything and maybe their life.nasa-control-room-hdr

I was sleeping soundly when I was suddenly awaken. I remembered that when the engineers were constructing this ship that I was the only one told that two anti- nuclear devices were installed into a hidden cargo area. There was also a launching pad that was stored in the same area. I had to unscrew the caps, take one off and put it on the other. The codes were reversed so I had to remember the code. Why couldn’t I remember them at this moment? I sat for moment and finally it came to me. I got on my radio and commanded all men and woman to the deck. Everyone assembled, and I told them my plan. We was going to wait until the asteroid was within 3000 meters and a launch sequence would be initiated.MSDTWTH EC014

The time had come, all viewing the monitor when 3000 meters was here. I hit the button on the launch and we waited. I looked around the room at all the faces and  I could see fear into their eyes. An explosion was heard and the whole station was rocked sideways. I lost my balance and others had struck limbs upon the consoles. I finally caught my breath and looked up at the monitor. The asteroid had been destroyed. Everyone else had raised to their feet and instantly had smiles on their faces. The cheers starting coming and I heard a hoorah here and there. Everyone on the station was going to continue this mission. I as commander, had made my last major decision, the next decision was retirement. photo%20(52)
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