“You never fail until you stop trying.”
~ Albert Einstein
I have a Sweat Shirt that I bought in St. Ives, Cornwall in 2012. I bought it from the Royal National Lifeboat Institute in a little shop within the St. Ives Lifeboat Station. I bought it because, even in June, the day was fiercely cold with a strong wind blowing. We had just watched the St. Ives Lifeboat being launched and racing off to the rescue of a ship in distress a few miles off beyond the breakwater. I was ‘uncomfortable’ so I bought the shirt to stay warm as we watched those brave volunteers speed off into the unknown.
The message on the sweat shirt reads: “Never Turn Back” This is the motto of the RNLI, an amazing volunteer, marine search and rescue organization (founded in 1824!) that is dedicated to saving lives of those at sea. To make this message mean even more, there is a plaque on the wall of the station commemorating the loss of the entire 7-man crew of the Lifeboat on January 23, 1939.
Seven brave men who left their homes during a terrible storm to rescue another boat in distress, and who did not turn back, did not give up, but who never came back to their homes either. That was over 70 years ago, and the motto and determination of the RNLI remains the same today. Every day in, literally, dozens of communities around the United Kingdom, brave men and women train and practice so that they can spring into action at a moment’s notice to come to the rescue of those in need. People they don’t even know. Those calls can come any day, any time – there are no days off. Calls can happen on Christmas, on birthdays, during weddings and other celebrations. These heroes drop everything and run towards danger.
I am reminded of other first responders: fire fighters, paramedics, police officers, search and rescue volunteers. All run to danger while the rest of us stay warm and look on in amazement (if we are not too busy running the other way). We are safe because of their dedication, because they Never Turn Back.
My sweat shirt is now getting very worn, but I love to wear it in honor of the RNLI. It reminds me of that stormy day in Cornwall and it reminds me of those 7 brave men in 1939. It reminds me of those who carry on their tradition.
As we approach the holiday season we need to take a moment to say Thank You to these brave men and women. As we eat our turkey dinners, as we go to parties, as we share time with our families, please remember those who are ready to drop everything to be there when we need them. We have peace and safety because they care and because they Never Turn Back.