During “Firefighters’ Week,” we hope all residents everywhere, especially in the Newsleader readership area, will thank their firefighters with a call, a card, an in-person meeting or with a donation.
Firefighters, like police, soldiers and other public servants, often do not get the recognition they deserve. It’s not that people are callous and ungrateful; it’s because – first of all – firefighters never expect special thanks and do not like being made “a fuss of.” Another reason is because we’ve all learned to take them for granted, as we do such people who are always “there” when we need them.
Firefighting is one of the most dangerous occupations in this world. These good men and women volunteers risk their lives just by being firefighters, even in smaller towns where frequent fire calls or other crises are less likely to happen. The fact is, every firefighter everywhere is always facing the unexpected that lurks in the future.
We have all heard of the tragic, heartbreaking instances of deaths: the many firefighters who died in the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York City, the many who die throughout the nation when building walls or roofs collapse on them and, more recently, the horrifying deaths of 19 firefighters who died while fighting a wildfire in central Arizona.
Since 1981, when Minnesota began keeping records on firefighting-related deaths, 207 firefighters have lost their lives in the state. That’s a terrible toll in just three decades. Imagine how many lives have been saved by firefighters in that same time period.
Besides risking their lives, firefighters also deal stoically with other forms of sacrifice on the home front. Many times, even during important occasions, firefighters must leave their families at a moment’s notice to hurry to a fire or other disaster. Such on-call duty is a daily contingency, night and day, for these outstanding men and women. In addition to emergency calls, firefighters dedicate many a long hour to education and ongoing training, another activity that keeps them away from their families. As many firefighters have often remarked, without the full support of families, their service would not be possible.
We encourage all readers to thank these selfless firefighters and their families during “Firefighter Appreciation Week.” We depend upon their constant readiness to keep us safe and sound. They are public servants in the noblest sense.