Unseen heroes deserve thanks too

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The word has been used a lot lately to express emotion and pay respect to the firefighters we’ve lost and the ones we still have.
Like everyone else, recent events have me more than a little sheepish over the things I take for granted on a daily basis. Someone recently asked me why it takes an event like this one to remind us to say a little thing like “thank you.” We’re busy. We get caught up in the daily rush of life and our own problems.
Things like this make us wake up and look around.
While interviewing firefighters for a story I did recently, I marveled at how the firefighters I spoke with accepted danger as a part of their job. It made me think of my son, who’s deployed with the Army in Afghanistan.
I saw a lot of the same mind-set in the firefighters that I see in Jason. They don’t talk about danger specifically, but its inherent in everything they talk about and every aspect of their job.
I cringe at the stories Jason tells me sometimes. It has to be a lot like that for a firefighter’s family or the family of anyone who risks their lives as a part of their job.
Being a firefighter is being part of a culture, some of them told me. The families of the firefighters, police officers, military personnel are part of the same type of culture. A culture of loving, supportive people who share their loved ones with us willingly. They love and support the public servants who assist us when we need help.
When someone you love risks their life for a living, you’re torn between cheering them on and being afraid for them.
At times, you bite your tongue and don’t say things you’d like to because you know they have to be clearheaded to do what they do. They can’t afford to be distracted. Things like 24-hour shifts and interrupted dinners are a part of loving them. Families of public servants are just as selfless as the servants themselves and many of them wouldn’t have it any other way.
More often than not, heroes are everyday people behind the scenes.
Honoring and thanking our firefighters has dominated the news and conversations of late. All who support our firefighters, police officers or anyone who risks their life for the rest of us, deserve a thank you also for sharing your loved ones with us when we need them.
We’re all a lot safer because of heroes like them. And the unseen heroes who support them.