In 2017, Congress designated October 28th as National First Responders Day. This is a day to honor the firefighters, police officers, EMTs and others who are the first on the scene in stressful, dangerous situations.
Lieutenant Austin Anderson, patrol commander of the Syracuse City Police Department, shared that being a first responder has changed his life. He says, “So, I wanted to be a cop since I was like a little boy, and so all I ever wanted to do was go help people and serve.
“I think it kind of defines who I am. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do, and to me, it’s more than just first responding to people’s needs. We have the chance to make an impact in people’s lives and make a difference.”
Although there has been recent controversy surrounding the nation’s police force, Anderson says, “We’re not perfect. We’re human beings, and as long as we’re human beings, we’re gonna make mistakes. But there are so many good-hearted individuals in law enforcement, people that give tremendous amounts that people just don’t ever see. And the good and some of the charitable acts, and some of the things that people do are just remarkable, and I’m lucky to be associated with those kinds of people.”
Ian Baldwin, who recently received his own EMT license, became a first responder to give back to those who saved his life. He says, “Growing up, I’ve always looked at the first responders [and thought of] instances in my own life where I’ve almost died [and] that first responders have saved my life. Growing up having an uncle in California, being a firefighter, going out to fight wildfires.
“My brother, of course, being an EMT himself, they just, I’ve just always looked at them – first responders – being the coolest dudes on earth because they do stuff that ordinary people aren’t gonna do for other people.”
National First Responders Day reminds us of the sacrifices that these people make on behalf of our communities every day. To show gratitude and appreciation, many donate to a first responders charity, such as the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, or write thank you cards to local heroes.
Let’s show our appreciation today, and every day, for our nation’s first responders.