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Jenna Thomas-McKie

Jenna Thomas-McKie lives on a farm in Georgia. She is a wife, the mother of two boys, a full-time employee, and a part-time college student. In addition to being an unapologetic Christian who is active in her church, she serves as the Secretary for the Board of Directors for her local fire department and as the webmaster for her sorority's local alumnae group. In her spare time, she writes, draws, drinks coffee, and drowns worms.

    "I'm Going In."
    by Jenna Thomas-McKie
    March 26, 2004

    I'm a member of the Board of Directors for North Columbia Fire and Rescue, Inc. We provide fire service for three districts in Columbia County: Leah, Appling, and Winfield. My husband, John, is a firefighter with Winfield. All of our guys are volunteers, which means none of them get paid anything for putting their lives on the line.

    Last night, around midnight, Leah got toned out for a structure fire. Sheriff's deputies were on the scene and could see flames and smoke. John and I listened to the radio traffic while we waited to see if Leah would need any assistance from Winfield.

    Central, this is Leah Five. I'm on the scene. Be advised, it is a fully involved structure fire.

    My heart sank. Fully involved? This wasn't going to turn out to be
    some piddling chimney fire, then, like the previous call. And there
    were residents still inside. Someone was going to have to go into that
    inferno to look for them. And sure enough:

    Central, this is Leah Five. I have two patients inside. I'm going in.

    Dear God in Heaven. Watch over him and protect him, keep him safe from the heat and smoke inhalation, help him find those people and GET OUT. Amen.

    John didn't wait to hear if Leah needed help. He headed for the fire station so he'd be ready to roll the minute they called. I sat and worried for the next few hours, wondering if my husband was at the fire, praying the Leah firefighters were okay, praying for the victims.

    Saturday saw a "Global Day of Action" rally in San Francisco. Someone posted pictures. One of the signs carried by a protestor said, "I [Heart] NY even more without the World Trade Center."

    2,819 people were killed in those attacks. 1,609 people lost a spouse or a partner. Over 3000 children lost a parent. 343 firefighters and paramedics died.

    The fires continued to burn for 99 days after the attack.

    Go ahead and rejoice in death and destruction. Mock the sacrifice of those who stand between you and evil. Laugh at George Bush's "cowboy mentality," and sniff at American simplisme. It won't save you from Al Qaeda. Or Hamas. Or Hezbollah. Or Islamic Jihad, or whatever other faction out there strikes next.

    When the time comes, sharing their hatred of all things American won't protect you. Your only hope will be one of my husband's brothers or sisters. And even though you've shown them nothing but disdain, offered them nothing but insults, they won't hesitate.

    Central, this is one of the good guys. I have patients inside. I'm going in.

    © 2004 Tocqevillian Magazine