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.