I just finished listening to a report on National Public Radio about the alarming rate of police suicide in this country. It stopped me cold.

I am a self-employed, long-time farmer in the Upper Valley. My husband and I have served as volunteer EMT/ firefighters in our community for 40 years.

Since I have been self-employed, I have attended many calls by myself during the day when other volunteers were at work. It is fair to say that I have an accumulated amount of post-traumatic stress after a lifetime of responding to 911 calls.

After listening to that report, I asked my husband which calls traumatized him the most. We shared our list: some terrible car wrecks, the Oso slide, the drugs, alcohol and abuse that one individual can wreak on others.

Countless times, we have depended on our State Patrol and Skagit County Sheriff’s Office to manage the scene and provide a safer environment for us to render aid. This letter is for all law enforcement officers.

Thank you from an EMT.

You are so important, you are needed, you are critical to living in a place where we can call for help and know that someone, somewhere is going to come to help. Especially for us Upriver folk ... when we might wait for someone to respond from 40 miles away, you are appreciated. (And you need to watch out for those wandering elk).

So, this is a huge thank you for your service. And a heartfelt request to take care of your own mental health as you continually add to the memories of trauma and tragedy that you try to take care of.

Anne Schwartz

Rockport Volunteer Fire Department

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