I am reminded of my hero, David F. Clemmons on a regular basis. He is my father, and caring enough to try to save people’s lives, no matter what he is doing when trouble works its way into a situation, seems to be in his blood. I was reminded of this not too long ago.
In the late summer of last year I was up daydreaming around one or two in the morning when the calm was shattered by a screech of tires, and a loud crunch. My parents had been asleep, but I suppose the commotion woke them up, because by the time I made it to the window my father was tearing across the yard at full blast with a flashlight in hand.
For most people this would have been odd, but not for me. My father is very calm and collected in a pinch. That crash in the yard reminded me of another instance when I had been on site to see my dad in action saving someone’s life. My parents, my best friend, and I were on the way home from the movies one night year before last. We were on Pine Grove Road heading towards an awfully dangerous curve, when we watched a green Ford F-150 miss the curve, and drive straight into the steep ditch on the other side.
Dad’s initial reaction was to make sure the driver didn’t have any serious injuries. Stopping the car, he stepped out and dialed for the paramedics as he made his way over to the truck. Once he was certain that there was no immediately fatal damage, he stepped back to let the paramedics do their job. However, he didn’t just get back in the car and take us home. He stayed to find out what condition she was in, and what had gone wrong.
The fact that he didn’t just pull that lady from the wreckage and leave proves that he is a very caring, compassionate person. He has had a sense of duty to the people in this community for as long as I can remember. That was what was running through my mind that night that those people crashed into a tree in our front yard. Once again, my father the hero was taking a personal interest in people’s safety. Honor, compassion, and interest in the people around you are three traits that make the hard-working man who could have done with a couple of hours of sleep stand out in my heart and mind.
He did not sleep in the next day, he got up and did his job the next day because it was his duty to be reliable and keep his word. I don’t believe there is anyone better at that than David Clemmons. His family, his job, and his community have always been very important to him, and that makes him special. He is a person who honestly cares, and wants to improve the world around him in any way he can.
There have been emotional effects from the times he’s dealt with people in need, as well. I remember the tortured look in his eyes the day he told me about a motorcycle accident that happened just down the road from our house. A man was doing somewhere around eighty miles per hour when he missed a sharp curve in the road, and ran up the telephone pole beside the road. He fell first, and the motorcycle fell on top of him, crushing him. My father was the first one to arrive on the scene. The man was already dead, and a macabre mess.
The fact that there was nothing he could have done bothered my dad for a very long time. Sometimes I believe that has never stopped bothering him. The emotional impacts have stayed with him throughout the years of his being a volunteer fire-fighter, and they have been both good and bad. He has gotten lots of satisfaction from all the victims whose lives he has helped save, and returned safely to where they belong. However, there have been emotional losses with each victim that could not have been saved, and that is something that tends to stay with a person all of their life.
It also has an emotional effect on me, and the community. I can’t help being flooded with pride and awe every time I look at the things he does for others. It makes me so proud to be able to say, “You see that man right there, the one who just pulled that lady out of the smashed-up car? He’s my dad.” I know many, many people in this community that he has helped, and they all respect him. He endears himself more and more to people; the more he helps them out. It is a really wonderful thing for me, and for the community.
The things my father does for the community have had a large impact on society, as well. How many people would have been crippled, or killed, if he hadn’t cared enough to rush to the scenes of accidents and give hours of his life to helping them as much as possible? How many people would be motherless, fatherless, left without their sister or brother-son or daughter, through the years if my father hadn’t been kind enough to spend years of his life caring for victims of all kinds? It never mattered to him how the accident happened, every person got all the help they could get, whether or not they had been reckless or stupid. He may have had a long talk with them about being careful, because he did care, but he helped them no matter how they got into the fix they were in.
Where would a number of the people in this county be if it weren’t for good men like my father helping them? Society needs heroes, and my father exemplifies the definition of hero in my eyes. Sure, there have been others in history, the unnamed soldier at Arlington, Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington, but none of them are as important to me as David Clemmons for one simple reason. They could never have possibly measured up to the man who raised me, the man I call “father.”