They've announced the winners of the annual Halloween costume contest, and the winner is… NEW YORK CITY!
They went as New Orleans.
I posted that joke on my Facebook page on Halloween night. It got a bunch of laughs, even from my medic friends in NYC whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, proving that no one appreciates black humor as much as an EMT.
Predictably, though, a few people thought the joke came too soon, none more so than one of my former partners, who fell into a pearl-clutching swoon of disapproval and righteous indignation that I could be so, so… insensitive.
I love the boy to death, and he's one of my dearest friends, but he's always had a touch of the dramatic. So after telling him – affectionately and respectfully, as partners do – to kiss my hairy white ass, I reached out to some of the medics I know in the affected areas.
These guys need help, folks.
I'm not shy about cracking a joke to lighten the tension of a difficult situation, and black humor is a classic defense mechanism of EMT's to keep despair at bay, but without the effort expended to actually do something to help, it's just a sick joke at other's expense.
EMT's came from all over the country to help Gulf Coast residents in the wake of Katrina. I'd imagine a healthy number of them were from New York City. It's time we repaid the kindness.
The NYC EMS Blacksheep is a long-standing, informal fraternal organization of EMT's in New York City. Just last month, they had a formal induction ceremony at FDNY EMS Bureau of Training, and over 300 members attended. The founder of the Blacksheep, Henry Cancel, long since retired to Florida where he runs his own charitable organization, Working Saints USA.
Henry has graciously offered the use of his PayPal and credit card accounts to current Blacksheep for the purposes of soliciting donations to aid EMT's affected by the hurricane. Assistance will be offered to anyone within the NYC EMS community, not just Blacksheep members.
I'll let Henry tell you the rest:
A call to all Blacksheep and Friends,
Well it seems we are in need to support some of our fellow Blacksheep. So, in this light I am going to ask for donations from the Blacksheep strictly to help our own. As of today I am opening our website to donations for the Blacksheep relief effort.
I will keep track through my website at www.workingsaintsusa.org. Just like the way you bought tickets for the Pig Roast, go to the site and make your donation. Click on Donate and complete the form, and make sure to write "Relief Effort" in the special instructions area. I will advise all when we hit landmarks by the hundreds as in (100 raised, 200 raised ETC).
Be advised that none of this money will be used by Working Saints. All will go to those in need. Spread the word and lets raise as much as we can. Remember, some have lost it all and some most of what they had, so be generous. ~ Henry Cancel
For those of you who don't do PayPal and online donations, you can send check or money order to:
P.O. Box 51084
Fort Myers, FL 33994
Just write Relief Effort in the memo block. Give what you can, please. FEMA doesn't cover everything, and the wheels of bureaucracy turn slow. These guys need help now.