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A Cross by the Side of the Road
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

During a couple of really interesting days, I have spent a great deal of time traveling south on interstate 95. I drove from New Jersey to Florida in order to play my tuba with a number of my circus music buddies in Bradenton. As it turned out, I picked the correct days to travel south. I had a great first day making terrific time from Adelphia to Wilson, North Carolina. The next day was a bit different. My trip south on Monday was like driving through a car wash.It did not stop raining until I hit the Georgia border.

However, as bad as that was, it was much better than the weather a day or so later. This was when the Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina area was hit by a rash of plummeting temperatures which led to freezing rain and ice on the highway. As I sat in my hotel room in Bradenton, Florida, I watched the weather information on TV. There were a number of accidents on I-40 and I-95. So luck was with me.

As I traveled mile after mile on I-95, I began to notice that there were a great many crosses by the side of the road. Each had a name on it, I knew what these meant. Each cross stood for a person who had been killed at that spot on the highway in a traffic accident. I started to think about what these folks might have been like. Who were they? Where were they going? What were they doing? How had they met their end? Who did they leave behind. I am guessing that they did not know that the accident which took their lives was going to happen. They were simply on their way to someplace when something bad happened to them.

As I passed more and more of these tragic monuments, I guess I spent a great deal of time thinking about this, because I began fervently to decide that I did not want the memorial to my life to be a small white cross on the side of the highway. I shall continue to work to avoid that fate.

In addition to the crosses, there was something else which I began to notice. There were a growing number of commemorative signs along the way that caught my attention. I cannot tell you the number of times that I saw a bridge overpass or interchange which was dedicated to the memory of a sheriff, a state trooper, or a police officer.

Many people travel these roads every day and probably do not even notice these signs. I guess this sort of thing makes a greater impression upon me because of my work with Respondersafety.com. I wondered if I had posted the reports on any of the folks being memorialized in this way? Who knows? But probably yes.

I would like to think that whether it is was a cross by the side of the road, or a sign commemorating the memory of a lost public safety officer that I could do something about it. That is entirely possible given the amount of time I devote to my work here with the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association. I would like to think that because of our efforts over the past 15 years that a lot of folks are still out there working on the highways and byways of our nation. I would also like to think that there are a lot fewer signs out there than there. That makes me feel pretty good.

I would like to think that there is still a lot more that I can do to make good things happen on the highways where our police, fire, EMS, and towing associates ply their trade. Perhaps I can play a further part in this by driving more safely and paying attention to what is going on around me. This is probably the best way to avoid becoming a cross on the side of the road myself.

Perhaps by working just a little harder for my friends at Respondersafety.com I might be able to prevent a sign from being dedicated somewhere. I don't know. I guess you can never be sure of how things will turn out, but I would much rather try than not. So that is what I intend to do.

I intend to drive more safely on the highways and pay attention to the world around me. I intend to work just a little harder for Respondersafety.com. I will never know how many people how our work here at the CVVFA has saved. But even if it was only one it was well worth the effort.









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