"No greater love than this...that a man would lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13
Death comes to all men at some point in time. Yet when it comes suddenly and unexpectedly, it shocks us and brings us to our knees. Moreover, when it comes to those who have put their lives on the line in the service of others, it shatters us in a totally different way.
So it has been to the Hospital Wing family of Memphis, Tennessee this week as three of their comrades lost their lives in a helicopter crash on Thursday in Brownsville, Tennessee.
Three lives dedicated to helping others, to SAVING lives.
Most of us come and go through our daily routine with little thought of those who are laying their lives on the line for us throughout the day. Policemen, firemen, paramedics and those who fly in their "aerial intensive care units". Yet when we are in trouble, when our lives are threatened by violence, by fire, by a life-threatening accident, they are the ones we want to see and see immediately!! We do not think of the danger they themselves may be putting themselves in to rescue us or help us. It is their job. They signed up for this. But oh how grateful we are that they did !!!!!!!
I have a special place in my heart for the Hospital Wing because my son-in-love works serves as a flight paramedic with them. It was his dream job and he was so thrilled when God opened the door for him to go to work there. You HAVE to love it to do this kind of work. You have to love helping others.
Doug Phillips, Misty Brogdon and Cindy Parker also loved their jobs and they gave their lives in the service of others. They were just returning from delivering a patient to the hospital in Jackson, Tennessee when their chopper went down in bad weather.
How do you say thanks for a life given to help others? How do express to their grieving families that they did not die in vain? They were heroes. They did what they did not because they HAD to but because they CHOSE to, knowing that every time they stepped into that helicopter there was the potential for danger. They did not dwell on that fact but it was always there, in the back of their minds, yet the greater good was to be served...helping those in need.
Today as families and friends and co-workers of these begin the process of saying goodbye, I ask you to bend a knee and say a prayer for those who have been left behind by this tragedy. There are many grieving hearts today...their families and their Wing family, their friends and even those of us who never had the pleasure of meeting them personally, but feel as if we know them. I also ask you to take a moment today or in the near future to bless one of our heroes who serve us on a daily basis...whether it be a flight paramedic/nurse/pilot or a policeman, fireman, EMT....whoever you may know that serves in one of those capacities. Tell them 'thank you' for all they do and how much you appreciate them. They don't hear it nearly enough.
"Lord Jesus....we come to you today with grieving hearts. We ask you to be near to the families of these who have given their lives for others. Comfort them as only you can. Wrap your arms of love around them so tightly that they cannot escape your Presence. Send others to them to express Your love in word, in kind actions and in gentle embraces. May their hearts be lifted as they hear of how these three touched many lives, many of whom they would have never have met outside this tragedy. Thank you for Doug, Misty and Cindy and for their selflessness in serving, for the lives that they touched. Thank you for the legacy they have left. Minister also to the Wing family, those who have worked side by side with them day and night, who know what it's like to fly into face of danger for the sake of another. Comfort their hearts as they grieve as well. As the services are held in their memory, we pray for comfort, for encouragement and for peace for those they have been left behind. Minister to them, meet their needs and reassure them that you are with them and will not forsake them. Be near O Gentle Savior...nearer than breathing, closer than hands and feet. In Jesus name we pray....Amen"