Our first responders deserve our gratitude

Everywhere across America, there are people who are on alert, ready to respond when the rest of us call for help.

Last week, some of these people in Florida were called upon to treat and comfort children who had been wounded in a mass shooting at a high school. One of them found and arrested the gunman. Others worked to restore order and to calm frightened students and parents as the death toll became known.

Here at home, many remained on high alert this weekend, ready to help as the Ohio River crept out of its banks, onto our streets and into some of our homes and businesses.

In Southeast Ohio, only a fraction of these people are paid to perform these tasks. The majority of our firefighters and emergency medical response teams volunteer to perform these services for their communities.

But regardless of whether they receive payment for their efforts, these individuals put their own health and safety on the line in order to help keep the rest of us from harm’s way. They answer the call when we become sick, when we believe someone else is threatening us, when we have an accident and when Mother Nature reminds us that she — not us — is really in charge of the world around us.

All of these people — those at work here in the Ohio Valley as well as those who are on guard in other parts of our nation — deserve our sincere appreciation and gratitude. Even if recent flooding did not impact you, remember that they are out there helping others.

Say “thanks” if you happen to see some of them, and consider ways you can support them and their departments now and in the future.