Today, October 28, 2019, under a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate, we honor our nation’s first responders. Thank them for the often thankless and dangerous work they do. I pray you never need them, but if you do–I pray they are available for you.
This is a personal thing for me. I was never a first responder, but I’ve worked with some. More importantly, they’ve responded when I or my neighbors needed them.
Who Are First Responders?
Fire, police, EMTs, paramedics, nurses, doctors, and professional and volunteer rescue workers are all first responders. According to one definition, a first responder is anyone who runs toward an emergency rather than away from it. I would modify that to read anyone who runs toward an emergency offering help to those in need.
Why Honor Them?
These people work a life of service. They respond to the worst moment in someone’s life. They provide physical, emotional, and medical assistance. Twenty-four hours a day. Seven days a week.
Often their work takes them away from home on holidays and weekends. Their work day doesn’t always end when their shift ends. They will walk into danger to help a stranger, their fellow man. Lives depend upon their split-second decisions.
The pay they receive won’t make them millionaires and isn’t nearly enough. And believe me, their work takes a toll on them. It’s physically, mentally, and emotionally difficult work.
Personally, I’ve had to rely on the police, fire department, EMTs, and emergency room workers when we’ve had various crises. Every man and woman have been professional and supportive and often going above and beyond to help. I owe them a debt I can only repay in honoring them.
On July 17, 1981, my first husband and I were out on a date. We’d left our infant son in the care of a teenager. We arrived home to a frantic teen. She’d seen the news bulletin that the Kansas City Hyatt Regency’s walkways collapsed. Her parents had talked of going to the weekly tea dance held in the hotel’s lobby that night. She couldn’t get ahold of them by phone. Fortunately, they’d changed their plans at the last minute.
The collapse killed 114 and injured 216. Pairs of husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, died or were injured. Hundreds of first responders showed up at the scene and in area emergency rooms. It was our nation’s deadliest structural collapse until 9/11.
I live in an older neighborhood with towering oak trees all around us. Police helped us when one of our trees split in two during a storm. It fell across our yard and across the road. They helped ensure that no one drove into that tree during the night.
Police did a safety check on my son and I when a glitch in the new telephone I bought dialed 911. A dispatcher called me back to ask if we were all right. And a pair of officers came to double check that all was well.
They’ve saved my current husband’s life more than once. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
They saved my neighbor’s house and the houses on each side.
It’s not just the men and women first responders in my city who are my heroes. All who serve as our nation’s first responders are my heroes. They’re OUR heroes.
Honor Our Nation’s First Responders
Please remember to pull over when the emergency vehicles sound their sirens. Remember that these men and women are on the job to serve, to help, to save. Honor our nation’s first responders today and every day.