Day gives first-responders well-deserved recognition

Letter to the Editor

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2007

A resolution was passed in the U.S. Senate dedicating Sept. 25 as National First Responder Appreciation Day. Finally there is a day to officially recognize the contributions that EMS, fire and law enforcement personnel provide every day, both paid and volunteer, in communities throughout Alaska and the United States.

I wanted to bring this day to your attention in order to give you the opportunity to contact your first-responders and let them know that you recognize their contributions and appreciate their service to your community.

I think this recognition should also be extended a little farther to include some of the people that may not be on the front lines; the instructors, managers and leaders who provide the training, support and infrastructure that enable all responders to perform their jobs and respond to emergencies.

There is one additional group that rarely receives any recognition that also deserves to be included the quiet group behind the scenes the spouses and families of the responders. They are the ones waiting for the safe return of their loved ones who have missed that dinner or special event to respond to someone else's emergency. They are truly the underappreciated heroes of emergency services.

The Alaskan EMS motto is "An Alaskan tradition, Neighbor Helping Neighbor." This is not just a motto, but a way of life, the mind-set and the common denominator among emergency responders. It is evident by their willingness to train, prepare and respond when one of their "neighbors" needs assistance. It doesn't matter whether it truly is a neighbor or someone they've never met and will never see again.

I hope you will join me in extending your thanks and appreciation to all of Alaska's EMS, fire and law enforcement personnel, along with all the people behind the scenes for their commitment to helping others. Their service and sacrifice is all too often taken for granted.

Sue Hecks

Executive director

Southern Region EMS Council

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