Thank You First Responders

Honoring first responders: Answering the call, no matter the peril

Don Bricker, Chief Operating Officer

Today we celebrate and honor first responders across our communities. Whether a firefighter, paramedic, EMT, police officer or someone else who provides care in times of an emergency; we are grateful for your contributions and recognize the importance of the service you provide!

My brother is a 30-plus-year firefighter and my son-in-law has worked as an EMT. Like many other first responders I have known, they don’t do it for the money or recognition, but from a true desire to serve and help people in need, often on the worst day of their lives.

While the focus on first responders usually comes during times of crisis, much of the heavy lifting happens behind the scenes before their services are needed. First responders work in areas that constantly focus on training and continuing education. They work to be on top of the most current strategies and tactics, so they are prepared to step into a challenging and often chaotic situation at a moment’s notice. This preparation takes time and commitment day after day and year after year.

First responders make many sacrifices, including dropping whatever they are doing in their lives to respond. We also celebrate the families of first responders who share the commitment to serve the public at the expense of time with family and deal with the unknown of having those close to them working in dangerous professions.

First responders choose to live a life of duty and accept many dangers most of us can’t comprehend. These dangers are considerable but sometimes unavoidable in their service to the public.

There are numerous ways we recognize and remember. Among the observances in May is International Firefighters’ Day, which is May 4 each year. National Police Week starts May 12 and EMS Week begins on May 19. These organized celebrations and others provide various ways to participate in activities to honor the accomplishments of our first responders, while also recognizing their sacrifices.

We hope you enjoy the stories of first responders in our communities. This focus on first responders is intended to be inspirational and a reminder of the special nature of those who serve.

The work of first responders is so ingrained in our culture and communities that we often take them for granted. And it’s easy to second guess and criticize after the fact. But most of us don’t really live with the sacrifices, challenges, and unique requirements of these professions.

As a group, first responders are truly amazing people doing special work for all of us, and we thank you!

• Don Bricker is the chief operating officer for Shaw Media. He can be reached at