Did you wake up this morning to a sea of blue stars with black ribbons on your Facebook page? The silly cartoon profile pictures have been replaced this morning for a much greater cause, honoring the memory of Laura Pullam, a 29-year-old EMT killed while doing what our emergency workers do every day: trying to help other people.
Pullam was on the scene of a car accident providing aid to the injured when a driver who police say was speeding his way up the highway lost control and struck her on the roadside. The driver was fine. She died of her injuries.
In her honor, dozens of my Facebook friends -- and I'm betting yours too -- have changed their profile pics to the Mourning Star of Life (pictured) and put up statuses like this:
Would like to ask all our friends on Facebook to change their profile picture to the Mourning Star of Life in honor of the EMT killed in Alabama this week. Everyone was willing to change their picture to cartoon characters for child abuse, now lets show some respect to Laura Pullam EMT for putting her life on the line ... and paying the ultimate sacrifice while trying to help others ... Godspeed Sister
I'm usually wary of joining the Facebook fads, but this is one I can wholeheartedly support. They aren't pretending to cure cancer or fight off child abuse. This really is all about awareness on a medium used by half a billion people worldwide. No one is expecting to bring Pullam back; they just want to give her memory its due.
We tend to think of our emergency personnel only when we need them. Grandpa starts clutching his chest, and somebody, quick, call 911. But when else do you think about them? Certainly not on a freezing cold day in December when they're out on the roadside and you're cuddled up warm and toasty watching Frosty the Snowman with your kids.
Now consider this. Among ambulance workers alone, 22 percent of the people showing up to help you at your darkest hour are volunteers. They get a call, and they leave their kids to Frosty while they run out to help your grandma up from a fall or your dad from his mangled vehicle. Then add in the number of volunteer firefighters in this country: out of the more than 1.1 million men and women who will walk into a burning building for you, 72 percent of them are volunteers. Even among the paid, there's no question they are doing a job that puts them in danger, and they do it for the love of humanity ... certainly not the paycheck.
I've been in car accidents. I've had emergency personnel put their arms around me and herd me into an ambulance, send someone to go find my asthma inhaler, and sit with me until I've stopped hyperventilating. I'm lucky that's been the worst of it, but I have never been able to repay those people for comfort in a dark hour. Maybe this is a way to do it.
Will you be changing your profile picture?
Image via Facebook