As a firefighter, I get to work next to some of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. I also get to work to assist some of the most amazing human beings I have ever met. I never met Jonathan Blunk, but I have met hundreds, if not thousands, of men and women just like him. It’s why most of us in Emergency Services shy away from the word “hero”. We know so many of them.
He saved his girlfriend’s life. He shielded her, he protected her, and he died for her. Many of us would do the same thing for someone we love. Yet, how many of us would do this for someone we don’t even know? I know hundreds, if not thousands, who would and some who have. I’ve lost friends and acquaintances; brothers and sisters who simply wanted to help another human being in their greatest time of need.
Jonathan’s girlfriend, Jansen Young, summed it up quite nicely.
Young said Blunk would have taken a bullet for anyone in the theater Friday.
“You know, the nearest person sitting next to him, he would have been like, ‘This person needs my help now,'” she said. “That just who he was and everybody knew it.”
Yes, that is just who he was and everybody knew it. Even those who have never met him. He’s part of an amazing brotherhood of sinners and saints who want nothing more than to save you; to help you, to be there when you need them the most.
You did us proud, my brother, and may you rest in peace having shown the greatness of Love in the most trying times of fear. May we have the courage, the ability and the discipline to do the same when called upon to act. Be humbled, my friends, because greatness like this doesn’t always shine from the darkness. If it did, we’d all be firefighters, policeman, EMT’s and in the military. I remain in awe of those I serve with, and of those who have paved the way before me.
So, while we get caught up in the mundane but necessary political debate over ways to keep us all safe, simple men and women are doing remarkable things to get us there. In my experience, tragedy happens in order that we may bring the best out of ourselves and in each other. Perhaps we need to focus on that “best of ourselves” in order to best honor those who have shown us the best of themselves. Maybe we need to focus a little more on the hero and a little less on the monster.