Who is Your Superhero – Cam Smart

Image: Cam Smart

Image: Cam Smart

My Brother, My Superhero

My brother doesn’t leap over tall buildings, he runs inside them.  He isn’t faster than a speeding bullet, he has to weave through traffic.  He’s probably not more powerful than a locomotive, but the people he saves probably think so.

My brother is a firefighter on a rural peninsula in the Pacific Northwest.  In an isolated area, surrounded by water and steep cliffs, first responders need more than a truck and a hose.  If you ask the community, they would say his superpowers are a combination of incredible physical ability and mental ingenuity, powers he uses everyday to rescue people in unusual circumstances.

He once saved a man who was stuck thigh-high in the mud off the shoreline.  The tide was rising and was already chest-high when he arrived.  After many failed attempts to free the man, and water now “lapping at the shoulders,” my brother had an idea.  Taking a fire hose, he attached one end to a boat pump and the other to a nozzle normally used to break through roofs during a fire, and stuck it in the mud.  Although not very large, the pump generated enough turbulence to free the man’s legs.

Working from a rappelling rope, he rescued an elderly woman who had fallen off a 150′ cliff while picking blackberries.  She was in cardiac arrest with broken bones lying on a 3′ ledge where, to really complicate things, was the home of yet another blackberry bush.   I’m not really sure how he managed this incredible feat but the woman lived, the blackberries didn’t.

His unusual rescues have been featured on KOMO during Heroes Week and have made front page news of the Seattle Times.  With 17 awards and commendations, he is the most decorated member in the history of his department.  But it is a more personal story which shows his inner strength that makes him such a hero to me.

He was responding to an auto accident knowing that a motorcyclist had been broadsided by a car.  Approaching the accident, he recognized the mangled motorcycle thrown to the side.  When he saw the rider and recognized the helmet and coat, he knew it was his own son lying motionless in the middle of the road.  I am sure my nephew is alive today because of the courage my brother showed when he stepped aside and let others take the lead.

If you ask me, my brother’s superhero strength is having confidence and faith in his team no matter what.

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