Friday at noon I got the call.
“Are you still available for Irma response?”
“Yes I am!”
Funny how natural disasters will make a Coastie excited, but you’ll have to forgive our enthusiasm. You join the Coast Guard to go out, save people, and make a difference. Fortunately for the American public, and for our own sleep cycles and emotional psyches, people do not need to be saved all the time. Furthermore, disasters are also region specific, meaning that all of Air Station Sacramento has been positively chomping at the bit to fly down south. We’re like a bunch of little forgotten kids in the back of the Coast Guard van going
“Can we help now? Not NOW? WHAT ABOUT NOW?”
Thus, it was with great excitement and much adrenaline that I raced homewards to pack a bag and…. stand by. Obviously I am still home to blog, and still standing by. I made the obligatory facebook post (yes, you haven’t helped if you don’t post it on social media, apparently), so friends and family will know where I am if I suddenly run off. This have given me time to think about heroes and the nature of heroism.
What exactly makes a hero? Did you save one life, two, or three? Does this life saving need to be direct or can it be indirect? What if you saved someone’s livelihood, but not their life exactly? And what if no one knows you saved a life? If a person saves a puppy in the middle of a forest, and never posts it on social media, are they still a hero?
I think the answer to all of these questions, is that it doesn’t matter how you did it or who knows. I believe the businesses cooking free meals for hurricane victims and volunteers are just as heroic as neighbors rescuing neighbors on jet skis. I applaud our Coast Guard helicopter crews flying their asses off just as much as I applaud our admin staff who are on deployment making sure that our surge forces get food, water, shelter, and above all, well deserved pay. Yes, one group is actively risking their lives and the other is not, however, WITHOUT EITHER the system would not work. Above all, when it comes down to saving lives, the guts and the glory should not be a significant factor in deciding to do what you do. You do it because you want to help. You do it because whatever it is, it is what you are good at, and it is the most effective way you can help your fellow woman or man.
With that mentality, I often tend to give more credit to those who do volunteer or donate their time/money with no hopes of getting recognized for it. After all, all of your helpful neighborhood coasties deploying for disaster relief are likely going to receive good paychecks for helping out, as well as awards and accolades. However, everyone else who chips in the money they can is making more of a financial personal sacrifice. If you are close enough to volunteer, you will be facing hours of monotonous work cleaning, organizing, or cooking, for a pat on the back and a nice certificate. THAT, to me, is a very important side of true heroism. It’s not like what we read in books. Being a hero is not always pretty, or dangerous, or dramatic, but it is above all helpful, much needed, and effective. Here is a good article about how you can be a hurricane hero, today.
I also wanted to talk about being an everyday hero. As humans, we tend to work in these selfless and selfish spurts. For example, Harvey and Irma happen, and we are a nation consumed with altruism. However, how many of us will continue to give, volunteer, and help our neighbors after all of this is over? How many Americans will wonder at what actually caused Harvey and Irma to be so bad, and consider doing something about it?
As a nation, our hearts are open and giving for now, and I ask you, please do not lose this once the floodwaters dry. We can kill or save people every day with our choices in what we eat, purchase, wear, and how we travel. Why does compassion and caring have to be just a one hit wonder? For example, purchasing organic food saves farmers from depression and suicide, and going vegan saves almost 200 animals a year.
If you like to learn more, here is how and why you can SAVE LIVES by:
The heroes who make the biggest impact, are the ones who act as heroes every day.
This Week in Updates: Irma Ready
So no buying groceries this week as I am on standby, but I am making sure I find all my duct tape. They told us to bring duct tape, and that is exactly what I am going to do… Little do they know mine is blue and pink leopard spotted. I am also going to be bringing calming tea, and lots of fresh produce. If I get stood down from this, I shall be very upset.
I am missing my cooking though. I had such great plans for pumpkin alfredo vegan pasta!
The Recipe: Vegan Mexican Chocolate Bars
A shout out to Minimalist Baker and all of her amazing recipes and inspiration!
Based off of Minimalist Baker's chocolate cheesecake, these bars are a real crowd pleaser. Using more chocolate as opposed to coconut milk and oil keeps the recipe creamy, but makes each bite more decadent and rich! I chose to also make this dessert into bars, as opposed to a cake, to turn this deliciousness into finger food AND to allow myself and YOU to feed more people people for much less money. The blend of Mexican chocolate spices is, dare I say it, absolutely perfect.
- 1 cup packed dates, pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes then drain)
- 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts (or sub almonds or rolled oats)
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
- Pinch sea salt
- 3/4 cups raw cashews (soaked in water 4-6 hours, then drained OR pour boiling hot water over the cashews, soak for 1 hour, then drain and blend as instructed)
- 1 large lemon, juiced (scant 1/4 cup)
- 1 cup non dairy milk
- 7 ounces dairy-free dark chocolate (chopped and melted over a double boiler or in microwave in 30 second increments)
- 1/8 cup maple syrup
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
- Chopped pecans and more cinnamon (for topping)
- For ease of extraction, you may want to layer you 9 by 12 baking pan with parchment paper.
- Blend all crust ingredients together and press firmly into baking pan.
- Blend all filling ingredients together and poor over crust.
- Top with pecans.
- Refrigerate until firm, then cut and dust with cinnamon.