An Open Letter… Written by guest blogger and New Jersey resident, Jen Martelle Heicklen

I am posting today an “Open Letter” written by Jen Martelle Heicklen.  She is the wife of a New Jersey First Responder who has been working tirelessly to save lives of people that are in need of rescue following Hurricane Sandy.   Her letter addresses a serious issue – First Responders risking their lives to save those who refused to follow evacuation orders.  I find that this letter is poignant, raw and one that I wish to take the liberty to reprint (with permission from Jen).  I believe others may agree or disagree with Jen’s point of view, but , as a person who works with and deeply respects First Responders, I felt compelled to reprint it.  Respectful comments welcome.

Disclaimer: I did not edit the content or the “strong language” written. I respect her right to voice her opinion and write as she wishes.  If curse words offend you, stop reading now.

An open letter to those that decided to “ride out Sandy” on the Barrier Islands

by Jen Martelle Heicklen

Dear Jackasses,

While you were sitting deciding to stay in harms way and “ride out the storm of the century,” my husband was packing his gear preparing to go save your sorry asses. As you were playing drinking games while watching The Weather Channel, taking a drink each time you heard, “hunkering down,” my husband

 was kissing his kids goodbye for what could be the last time. Why? So he could go save your sorry asses. Now as you realize that perhaps you should have heeded the ORDER to evacuate, and are calling out to be rescued, my husband is risking his life along with other First Responders, for what?? To go save your sorry asses. As you sit nervously, in fear for your life, waiting for rescue, my kids are sitting at home, riding out the hurricane without their daddy. They are little, scared and don’t understand why daddy has to help the people who would NOT follow orders instead of staying home and protecting them. Again, I say, “why?” To save your sorry asses…As a wife of a First Responder of the NJ Task Force, I am extremely proud of the VOLUNTEER work that my husband does. He has a natural leadership about him and uses this skill to save those in need of rescue unselfishly. Let me be implicitly clear; I have no problem with my husband saving lives of those who legitimately need rescue. Those who COULD not evacuate–not those of you who CHOSE not too.As I sit and watch the news and interviews I become increasingly incensed by the interviews of those of you who decided to ride out the storm. Your casual replies that perhaps you shouldn’t have attempted to ride out the storm, or worse, that it was “crazy” or “unbelievable.” If you are interviewed you should be GRATEFUL that my husband decided to risk his life without a second thought so that you could live yours. You should be THANKFUL to all the First Responders who are risking their lives because YOU made a stupid, stupid choice. To the media: I abhor how you interview these punks who ride out the storm and glorify their decision. Why not ignore their stupid decisions or better yet, call them on it. Ask them what the hell they were thinking and who do they think they are to risk someone else’s life so they could experience a hurricane?? Interview the heroes…the ones who are out there unselfishly helping others. Notice, you won’t see this–not because the media won’t attempt to interview them–but rather the true heroes don’t need the glory that the Jackasses that rode out the storm so desperately need.Right now, while you Jackasses are safe, warm and with family members, my husband, along with many other First Responders are out risking their lives so they can save your brethren. So, Jackasses, kiss your family today and tell them that you love them. Simply because you can. Let’s hope that my kids and I can do the same with my husband.

Originally from the FACEBOOK page of Jen Martelle Heicklen

October 31, 2012

Photo by CNN

8 thoughts

  1. Jen,

    Please thank your husband (and thanks to you and your children, too…this is a family sacrifice) for his bravery, courage and hard work in being a First Responder. It is beyond me that people would choose to stay when told there is clear and convincing imminent danger. There has got to be a better way to do this than to put our First Responders in situations that COULD HAVE been avoided.

    It leaves me speechless. It should never happen this way. Never.

    Wendy @Kidlutions

  2. Thank you, Louise for including my Open Letter on your Blog. As you can imagine, I have received numerous responses to this letter. This is exactly what I had intended to happen. I specifically chose the language I used to gain attention–and attention it gained. If I had started this letter with, “To Whom It May Concern” the demographic I wanted to reach would not have read it.

    This letter was posted yesterday (10/31/12) on Philadelphia’s Channel 10 Facebook Page. It has since received over 52,000 likes (yes, you read that correctly) and over 5700 comments. I am attaching the link here to this page. Please be forewarned, there is a reason Philly/Jersey has the reputation it does–we are not always a nice people–myself included. Out of these responses, primarily there is positive feedback. There are also some quite colorful ones, as well.

    I was raised to stand by my convictions. I felt compelled to write this open letter to convey my feelings of what I am seeing around me. I’m taking a beating, but it is okay. At least people are talking, taking notice, and hopefully realizing this reckless abandon can no longer go on without some sort of legal/financial recourse.

  3. Uh, not enough curse words for me. God bless your husband for his selflessness. Some people are just straight out idiots! Grrrrr 😡

  4. OMG! You read my mind! Thank you for speaking out. These people you speak of should have learned from New Orleans, 7 years ago. It’s a dag-on shame that people don’t think of others during times of turmoil. It’s like they feel entitled, they know someone will come through to rescue them but they didn’t give a thought to what these people (your husband & others) may be giving up to put their lives on the line

  5. AMEN! I feel this way every time drivers don’t pull over for ambulances or other emergency vehicles let alone those individuals that are capable of evacuating but choose to remain in the path of a hurricane, fire, etc. (whatever their faulty reasoning is) and expect to be rescued. STOP being selfish and let First Responders help those that truly need it.

  6. Jen –
    You and all our First Responders and their families are my heroes! Such sacrifice in the face of stupidity is outlandish! Wake up America and take responsibility for your own reckless actions!!! When will we learn the lessons of Katrina and get it right?! Blessings to you again as you and yours weather another storm!

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