Our public servants
In search and rescue operations, searching precedes rescuing. The United States Coast Guard responds to requests for help in any number of situations including ships in distress and people overboard.
A friend, an officer in the U.S.C.G., has the responsibility of coordinating his district's search and rescue operations. This winter and spring, he coordinated a search all too often in response to this phone call: someone has jumped off a bridge.
Local, state and federal agencies work together in these situations to maximize resources and support everyone involved. Yet, as he said to me, until the body is found all you have is an empty car parked on a dark bridge and a passing driver who thinks they saw something. It is very stressful until it is very sad.
After such an event, closing the office door to be alone with one's thoughts is sometimes the only helpful therapy, so I am told.