firefighters, the pride of the nation!

Posted: August 7, 2010 in nmarques

It was around 2AM when I parked my car in the service area on the A1 highway for a quick coffee and bio break. As I entered I’ve found an abnormal concentration of fire fighters. Those brave men and women had traveled over 300Km north to help their comrades up north with the fires that have been burning in Portugal in the past weeks.

I’ve offered myself to pay for their coffee, which they refused at first, but after a bit of chat they ended up by allowing me to buy them the coffee. I’ve also thanked them for their initiative and help. I know how important it is for one that leaves his family behind and takes his free time to accomplish something far greater than most men will ever realize. I saw in their faces the same spirit that built this country and hold it for almost 1000 years, sacrifice and abnegation for something greater than one’s own ambitions.

On my way back, I’ve stopped outside and went for cigarette with my fiancée before heading back to the car, a time when a tourist came by, and in a funny way she said: “looks like there’s going to be a firefighter party”. I’ve turned to her and told her that those men were voluntary firefighters from the south of Portugal and they came up north to help their colleagues fighting the fires that are burning for weeks. Every corporation donates a car and it’s crew of voluntaries and their form large columns from 10 to 20 cars and move north to help on fires.

It’s not everyday that people witness such deeds, and I can’t just explain how emotioned I became when I saw that 17 car long column leave up north to Braga (Bracara Augusta, in latin) to help. For a moment tears came into my eyes.

A very huge thanks to all those volunteers that leave behind their families to help our population and local fight the fires that consume our woods in this troubled times. Their sacrifice and abnegation has not passed unseen, neither it will pass unrecognized.

  1. Russell says:

    I can tell you as someone who volunteered for many years on the Rescue Squad your simple offer of some coffee in the middle of the night was more appreciated than you know. Sure the media and public often talk about how they appreciate volunteers but its the small thank yous that mean the most. When you’re tired and know there is still a long way to go someone stopping by to say “I see what you’re doing and I appreciate it” really gives you a pick me up to make it through the rest of the night.

    On behalf of every volunteer whose had a long night I’d like to say thank you to you.

  2. aborrecido says:

    Thanks for you kind words Russel, but those men out there are the true heroes. Right now, the fires are still burning and over 500 men on the field supported by 2 bomber helicopters and at least 1 intervention helicopter with almost 100 cars are still fighting it.

    There is no coffee I can buy to show our gratitude, and I believe I speak on behalf of nearly every Portuguese who walks on this earth.

  3. Manuel says:

    Today, one more innocent fire man as died fighting the fire!

    He was from Alcobaça!

    As you see Nelson … no pride!

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