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First Responders

Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013 9:34 a.m. CDT

Who are these people who we call first responders? They live among us, disguised as ordinary folks who live ordinary lives, but when called into action, they are anything but ordinary. They are extraordinary in every sense of the word. 

I was subbing at the high school last Thursday when Mr. Hussey came on the intercom announcing that school would be dismissing in 10 minute’s time.  He took great care to explain that the early dismissal was for the safety of the students.  After the kids were gone, I immediately went over to the county’s Emergency Operations Center to see what the biggest problems were.  Water was the simple answer; it was everywhere, including places it was not welcome or wanted, causing a lot of problems.

The first responders were already mobilizing and brainstorming on how to respond.

Jim Lutz was calmly directing his staff, knowing his own personal home was probably at risk.  Everyone in the room was putting their personal concerns and distractions aside for the sake of the county’s residents. It is people like these, Bob Coleman (the man just doesn’t know how to retire), and many others we all know, who have kept us all safe for generations. 

I was also pleased to see many of the same young men I saw earlier that morning at the high school, utilizing their social network for social good, as demonstrated on the front page of the Morris Daily Herald with the sandbagging effort at the hospital and Elliott Manor. Very impressive how such devoted volunteers come from all ages and walks of life to join those who have unselfishly picked public service as their career choice.

Putting their personal lives and physical safety aside to do whatever it takes for the rest of the community, similar to what we all witnessed in Boston this week.

I first got to the command center at mid-morning, and at mid-evening, the same folks were still at the same table, making sure every single person in need was being taken care of by one of the heroes we call “first responders."

Thank you and God bless,

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