James Lemmon is a paramedic and relief supervisor from Clackamas County, Oregon. He shares a story of a time when he was most proud to be serving communities while he was in Panama City in the time shortly after Hurricane Michael had hit:
"This is my why: showing care and compassion, always.
I was scouting a new location for the Forward Operating Base in Panama City. When we entered the airport, for some reason, I looked down and found a bright orange rock that was painted like a pumpkin. I picked it up and decided to put it in my pocket to keep it, even though that is not usually my thing.
We continued on our location scouting, met with airport executives and did some set up. As we were walking out of the building when we were finished, I saw a family walk in: a mom, a dad and a young girl. I knew in that instant I could make a difference in the girl's day, or even her week. Plus, she was wearing a bright orange dress! I pulled the rock out of my pocket and showed her, and her face lit up. I asked her if she would like to have the rock, and she acted shy, but I could tell that she was very interested. She came towards me, and I gave her the rock and asked her if I could have a hug. She gave me the biggest bear hug coming from a small girl!
This is my why, being able to show care and compassion to people in any situation. Not only to this little girl, but her mom and dad, too. They were so happy to have a bright spot and to see their little girl smiling during what was a very trying time. It made my day to bring them all some joy."