Through airports traveling to training or when they come home from war, we hear “Thank You” often said to our soldiers in uniform.
Their service and sacrifice is special. We remember our veterans on war anniversaries and in other ways.
On occasion, but maybe not enough, appreciation follows our law enforcement and fire department personnel as they travel through the community.
We appreciate patrol cars parked in our neighboring driveways, a show of force and reminder to criminals passing by that someone willing to take them on is close by.
The funeral of Conway police officer William McGary is a stark, sad reminder not to take our local heroes for granted. They put themselves in harm’s way for us.
When officer McGary was struck and killed while directing traffic around an accident, he died protecting firefighters and us from harm. He was on the front line serving our community. He literally stood in the way of others getting hurt.
“They’re our Blue Angels,” spoken by a Conway firefighter preparing for the funeral.
The families of public servants like these know there always is a chance their loved one might be called to dangerous duty. They put it out of their mind, knowing the death of a local police officer is a rare event.
What isn’t rare are the daily risks officers and firefighters take whenever they move out on a call. The walk up to doors, not knowing what danger may lurk on the other side of a domestic abuse call or smell of smoke. We can’t forget they watch out for our children in school zones, respond to 911 calls regularly, and they hunt down the bad guys to make this community as comfortable as we can afford.
Hard to imagine thanking an officer for speeding ticket or traffic violation, but he or she is only looking out for others. Keeping us in line can be an endless job.
Even when the job can seem routine — directing traffic around an accident — we need to remember that they are doing this for us. They are protecting us and serving us.
Thank goodness someone is willing to serve and protect us as a local public safety officer or firefighter. They do so much that we never see.
So, let’s keep those free coffees and words of appreciation flowing.