Usually, there is an outpouring of concern when a public safety employee is killed in the line of duty. That shouldnt have to happen before someone says, Thank You. Every day across this great nation, public safety employees and first responders are called upon to protect what is most important to all of us - our families, our neighbors, our property, our quality of life, and our very freedom. There is seldom a day goes by without the news giving us an example of the heartbreaking valor and sacrifice of some police officer or firefighter. Many die; undoubtedly knowing that the situation they are in presents a strong chance they will not survive. But they rush in to help anyway. Many times their deeds go unnoticed. All are at risk because of what they are and do not who they are. Most people want to see firemen and EMTs coming to help them. Thats not always true when an officer or a deputy gets there and does their job, they usually make someone unhappy, and hopefully its the bad guy. We have to be many different things to many different people. When your grandmother is stopped for running a stop sign, you want the kindest, most understanding, and most considerate officer on the force. When someone is trying to break into your home where your daughter is all alone, you want the meanest, the most physical, and the most threatening officer, on the force to come to her rescue and protect her. You dont want him to be nice and you would pay him anything to save her. When you have chest pains, you want the best-trained EMT available and the fastest ambulance driver. When your house is on fire, you want the whole fire department and the newest fire truck with the best pumps to put the fire out. When its personal and affects you, you want the best. There is something wrong in our society when someone is paid 250 million dollars to play baseball; when millions of dollars are spent to cover a football field with artificial turf; when a fat movie director is given more credibility than our elected President; when media reports put our soldiers at risk and abet the enemy. When we expect our deputies, officers and firefighters to be willing to give their lives but we are unable to pay them enough and they have to work two or three jobs to support their families. Thomas Jefferson once said, The care of human life and happiness is the first and only legitimate object of good government. Government places the care and protection of human life in the hands of its public safety employees. Everyone is put at risk when special interests take precedence over public safety. Many complain police officers and firemen are overpaid. I have often wanted to ask, Would you do this job for this salary? Almost every day, someone complains about the way we do our jobs. We often hear, I pay your salary. I pay taxes. Does anyone really think public safety employees dont pay taxes? In fact we pay part of our own salaries. We are expected to be courteous at all times, even when cursed or spat upon. We often hear we are wrong, even when we are justified in protecting ourselves. I would suggest to you that, in spite of all the allegations of racial profiling and the alleged abuses, public safety personnel are some of the most color blind people in the world. When someone asks for help, no one asks what color someone is; how much money they make; whether they are Republican or Democrat; or what religious preference they may have. Again and again, we are asked to do more with less. Again and again it comes down to the people and their personal dedication. And still they do it every day, every night, every holiday; for a paycheck most anyone else would never accept to put their life at risk. What about the volunteers and the reserves who do the same job for nothing? Most people dont understand why they do what they do. Its because they care. Some are called officers, some are deputies, and some are troopers, some constables, some firemen, some EMTs, and some volunteers. Some drive cars or ride motorcycles; some drive fire trucks and ambulances. Some drive their personal vehicles to respond to emergencies. All care. All share common qualities that run deep: honor, character, personal responsibility, duty, and faith. All have a deep sense of knowing right from wrong and the difference between good and evil. Almost every day, we see the underbelly of humanity: Violence; Abandonment; Neglect; Injustice; Blood; Death; Obscenity; and Thoughtlessness. We see hatred directed at others and at us. We are yelled at, cursed, hit, and sometimes stabbed or shot. We see people at their best and their worst. Sometimes we have trouble believing how cruel people can be to others. We are quick to defend those who cannot defend themselves. We like to have fun just like normal people. We laugh and cry just like everyone else. Sometimes we laugh at the wrong time just to keep from crying. Sometimes we get angry and discouraged, sometimes we feel lonely, even in a crowded room. We are supposed to be unemotional and any sign of being human is viewed by some as a weakness. We are expected to be all things to all people and have the right answers all the time. And so very often we feel helpless. Our human mistakes are seldom forgiven by those we serve. We are often second-guessed. Even when we are right, sometimes we are wrong. We are often forced to make life and death decisions in a microsecond. Sometimes the law and our responsibilities dont allow us to be as compassionate as some would demand. We are too soft at times and accused of being too hard at others. We are patriotic and proudly wear the American flag on our sleeve. Sometimes we hear, What took you so long to get here? when we got there as fast as we could. We are always outnumbered. We are a minority. We are often denied some of the same rights as those whose rights we protect. We are the butts of a lot of jokes and the subject of bad movies and TV shows showing corruption, abuse, and lawbreaking. But in real life when it really matters, the butts of those jokes will do their jobs to the best of their ability and without hesitation. Unlike our former President, we know what is means, because to us, Life is real. People may question our sanity for doing what you do, but never your bravery. When you receive that seldom-offered compliment, you usually say, I was just doing my job. You all have the attitude, I did it because it was the right thing to do. It is a calling; a way of life, not a job. Whether you are a dispatcher, a jailer, a secretary, a records clerk, or whatever you might be called, anyone who works in public safety makes unbelievable sacrifices just to do their job. You endure tremendous stress. You sacrifice to protect your co-workers on the street. There is no unimportant job in public safety. You accept responsibility, something almost everyone in this day and society avoids. Public safety personnel rarely say, It wasnt my fault. The word Hero doesnt belong to an athlete, an actor, a rap singer, or some misguided political activist. You are heroes because you are willing to do whatever is necessary in extraordinary moments and times of crisis. You put others in front of yourself. You dont do it for the salary or the recognition but because you want to make a difference. The word hero should be reserved for every man and women in the Military who is defending the freedom this country enjoys. Like each and every one of you, they put their lives on the line for a belief, not a paycheck. Our military protects us outside our borders while you protect this country from within. You are the true Civil Soldiers. Sometimes you protect us from ourselves. Heroes are willing to take a risk to make a difference -- a positive difference -- in someone else's life. Heroes have one thing in common -- they put others before themselves. It often means saving that persons life. Sometimes its that same person who cussed you out yesterday when you gave them a ticket for speeding in a school zone or running a stop sign. Sometimes its that person who says to you, Do you know who I am? I can have your job. I know Commissioner so and so. People become heroes not by luck or some miraculous transformation. Public safety personnel must constantly plan, train, and prepare for that one instant when they are called upon to save someones life or give their own. They dont have time to think about becoming heroes. What about our families? They sacrifice too. They sacrifice when their loved ones are at work. They wonder when they say goodbye if it will be for the last time. Ask any wife, son or daughter, father, or mother of someone in public safety. They are the silent heroes who share their loved ones with strangers; never knowing if that stranger or that fire might take their loved ones life. They never know if their loved one might be killed or injured because someone wouldnt pull over for that red light and siren. They are the ones who bear the brunt of our bad moods, the missed birthdays and anniversaries, the calls in the middle of the night, the fear every time they hear a siren and the desperation of knowing some measure the value of their loved ones life by a line item in a budget. They are the ones who must make ends meet knowing their loved ones are dedicated to their profession when they could probably make more money doing something else. They are the heroes behind the heroes. It has been said, A hero is someone you can admire without apology. None of us should have to make apologies for doing our job. I admire you, the men and women, who answer the calls for help at unknown risk to your lives, those of you who answer the calls that happen every hour of every day in counties and cities all across these United States. You can take pride in the fact that you have chosen to stand up, to do what others cant or wont do. Your reward is in knowing you make a difference. Why do you do this? Let me tell you why. It is because we make a difference. It is because we stand by each other. It is because we care. It is because its the best job in the world. It is my privilege to thank all of you for your unselfish commitment to others. I am proud and honored that I have a brother and two sons who have chosen a life in public safety and that I have been allowed to share their calling and yours. Those of you in LAW ENFORCEMENT; THE FIRE and EMS SERVICES; THE VOLUNTEER FIRE FIGHTERS; THE FIRST RESPONDERS AND THE FAMILIES, knowing that each and every one of you are real heroes, the men and women of public safety. I salute you and I thank you. groverglock Wanna kill these ads? We can help!