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Guardians that keep us safe
Rick Bussler, Publisher
Guardians, opinion, column, rick bussler, steele county times

When things go terribly wrong, people most likely reach out for help to an elite group of people that are often taken for granted.

From the time the 911 call is placed to the moment a police officer rolls up or EMT or firefighter, we can take some comfort in knowing that there are guardians protecting us in our communities.

Included as public safety guardians are sheriff’s deputies, state troopers, police officers, dispatchers, EMS workers, paramedics and firefighters.

While law enforcement officers are generally compensated as their full-time professions, many other public safety guardians, especially in the smaller towns, do it for little to no pay.

I still think back to when I was 5 years old and our family needed an ambulance for my ailing grandmother. I’ll never forget how during the nighttime hours the EMTs quickly and professionally took care of her and got her to the hospital. They were heroes in my book, though I never got the chance to tell them that.

Sadly, grandma never made the trip back home and later died in the hospital.

It’s reassuring that we have paid professionals and volunteers who want to help other people through their worst times. They undoubtedly possess something that we can all take a lesson from—a strong passion to serve others.

This week we are honoring our public safety guardians in a special section. This has become an annual ritual for us during National Police Week, which honors law enforcement across the nation. We hope our tribute will provide you with pause to respect, honor and remember those officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep our communities safe.

One of those featured is Kathy Trahan, who just retired last week from the Rice Steele 911 Center after more than three decades of dispatching. As she shared with me, she handled her fair share of death and destruction over the years. But she always maintained her composure and got help to people when they needed it most.

It’s a perfect time to think about what many public safety heroes sacrifice in order to do their jobs. They work all hours, holidays and weekends, which often means they are spending time away from their families.

Police, in particular, have taken it on the chin over the past few years. The George Floyd killing in Minneapolis cast a negative shadow on law enforcement. But as someone who used to work as a police officer, I can assure you most officers are not what you saw when Derik Chauvin put his knee to Floyd’s neck and pinned him down for nine minutes.

Officers are invested in making the world a safer place to live. They are unsung heroes who are selfless and heroic every time they answer a 911 call for help.

Contrary to all the political crap being spewed all over, it’s up to us to show our appreciation for what they do and support them.

Just remember you never know when you’re going to be in hot pursuit of needing a police officer, ambulance or fire truck to deal with a crisis in your life.

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