We hope you will take time this week to check out our annual salute to area first responders, which can be found inside this week’s newspapers. And if you get a chance this week, thank one of your local first responders for all the work they do to keep our community safe.
What has been known as Patriot’s Day in New England, which is September 11, took on new meaning for the nation after the 2001 terrorist attacks. While remembering all who died 19 years ago in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, September 11 has also become a time to salute our first responders in recognition of not only the work many of them did on that dreadful day, but also for the work they do day in and day out in service to us all.
And while many of our first responders do their work as a career, keep in mind that many of them are volunteers, especially in rural America. For instance, there are approximately 1.1 million firefighters across the nation and two-thirds of them are volunteers—that’s 745,000 volunteers risking their lives to save our lives and property.
If you’re lucky, you’ve never had to call on a first responder, but you shouldn’t ignore the important work they do for us all. The majority of us will be directly impacted by the work of first responders at some point in our lives. They will take our parents or grandparents to the hospital, put out a fire at the home of one of our family members or friends, stop a drunk driver from injuring or killing someone we know, direct traffic for a funeral we attend, or simply help one of our kids safely cross the street on the way to school.
And right now we all need to keep in mind that our first responders are doing their jobs in the midst of a pandemic. They risk putting their health in jeopardy every time they respond to a call. Numerous first responders across the nation have already died from COVID-19 and those numbers will only continue to rise. And while it is unclear how many of those deaths can be attributed to an infection that happened while performing their duties, first responders take a chance of getting COVID-19 every time they respond to a call.
All our first responders—police, fire, ambulance, 911, and more—deserve our full measure of respect and thanks for the jobs they perform every day, but we should be especially thankful right now for what they all continue to do during the global pandemic.
Please look through our pages saluting first responders this week and get to know some of the names and faces of the brave people who are working to keep us safe...and take a moment this week to thank them.