As I read the Clarion report, which gave me credit for suggesting this scheme, I wondered just how many people realize the quality of the people employed by your city as firefighters. These are selfless individuals with great community pride and boundless energy to devote to its causes. I was credited with the idea of naming a mountain in honor of fallen firefighters. No idea, no matter how wonderful, will never be worth anything unless it is acted upon. These firefighters took a few spoken words and turned them into a significant event. It took months of paperwork, years of planning and energy to meet the required criteria. I remind you that all of this was accomplished on personal time with personal resources. They did this while maintaining a training schedule, juggling personal responsibilities and family obligations.
A firefighter's time is not his own. How many times does he get paged for a Class One Recall when his 6-year-old is about to blow out the candles on her birthday cake, or when the family is just sitting down to a special dinner? He never says "I'll be there when I finish here" or "I'll meet you there later." The firefighter leaves his family to go to the aid of someone in need of help. He is always there to aid the injured, enter a burning structure to save a life he is always there. As proven in the World Trade Center, a firefighter will give his life to preserve the lives of others. Training and equipment will minimize the risks, but there are always risks.
All people everywhere should be proud of their local emergency services personnel, but the citizens of Kenai can be especially proud of theirs. Stop by the station and say thanks to these fine young men. Let them know you appreciate their efforts and personal sacrifices.
My thanks is meant for all the firefighters on the Kenai Peninsula and to all emergency personnel everywhere. Thank you.
Ron Walden, Soldotna
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