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Time has come today

By Paul Snyder

More time is something all of us want but rarely find.

Many reporters, including myself, measure ourselves each day by deadlines and the amount of information we’re able to get before a story goes under the critical eyes of editors. When editors question any part of it, the easy defense is usually some variation on: “Well, if I had more time …”

Instead, you become good at managing the few hours you do have and learning from one story’s faults to better avoid future ones. But at the end of each day’s grind, I’m almost always exhausted.

So volunteering has never really appealed to me: Call it lazy, call it selfish.

But short of friends or colleagues encouraging me to help a canned food drive or save a tree, there are many other places I’m more likely to be on a Saturday afternoon.

Luckily, the world has a lot of proactive and outgoing people to make up for my disappearances.

And the Senate today is going to vote on a bill that offers mandatory protections for volunteer firefighters, emergency medical technicians, ambulance drivers and first responders. It ensures the right to unpaid leaves of absence from their jobs.

Employees are already guaranteed that right for reasons such as voting or jury duty, but emergency volunteers — and there are many in the construction industry — aren’t afforded it.

Proponents for the bill have said some employees faced the threat of job loss because they were a couple hours late to work after waking up at 4 a.m. and spending the next few hours helping put out a fire or performing a rescue.

Unless you’re the boss of a volunteer who saves your sleeping hide from an early morning inferno, you can’t guarantee that person won’t catch hell for maybe being a little late for the day job.

But the Legislature can.

If we’re using the time we do have for productive reasons (and I would say saving lives counts) it’s hard to argue there’s something wrong with that.

I mean, I could probably come up with a list of negatives, but I’d need more time.

Paul Snyder is a staff writer with The Daily Reporter. He actually filed this blog ahead of deadline.

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