Josh McFadden

Josh McFadden

Story Vault

By Josh McFadden

NAVIGATOR: The Academy’s biggest, most extraordinary event of the year. In this three-day conference, emergency response professionals from around the globe converge to network with like-minded individuals, celebrate successes, learn more effective practices for their craft, and recognize outstanding achievements of other people and centers. There are classes, awards, parties, and a whole lot of fun.

So what was I doing in the office back in Utah during all the hoopla?

While most of my colleagues with whom I regularly work made the cross-country flight to D.C., I stayed back with a few others at headquarters some 2,000 miles away. Some might say I was fortunate to stay here where I got to go home to my family in the evening and where the office was quiet and calm. Others, though, might argue that I was missing out on a one-of-a-kind experience.

There’s truth in both statements.

The fact is, there was work to be done at NAVIGATOR and in Salt Lake City. My co-workers in D.C. arrived a few days before the conference to hang banners, set up audio/visual equipment, and to prepare in a host of other ways for this annual gathering. Meanwhile, business must go on at headquarters, and that’s where I come in.

During NAVIGATOR, I was in Utah busily posting pictures on our social media sites that my co-workers were taking of what was happening in D.C. I edited stories for the Journal and other publications. I prepared press releases about NAVIGATOR award winners to be sent following the three-day extravaganza. I was available for any pressing needs that arose in the office.

Though I was far removed from where the action was, my contributions were no less valuable. I take great satisfaction in knowing that.

Isn’t it the same in the emergency response profession? Regardless of whether you are right in the thick of things taking urgent, life-and-death calls all day long, or whether you work as a center manager, Q, or in some behind-the-scenes capacity, you are an integral part of saving lives and creating meaningful change.

All teams have different roles. Some of these roles are easily recognizable and seem to get all the accolades, while others seldom get mentioned, as the people performing the tasks go about their work diligently and unassumingly.

No matter what you do or how long you’ve done it, you can make a difference. This is especially true in this industry where, glamorous or not, your service is indispensable.