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More Than a Blue Light

December 3, 2012 - Steve Schulwitz
Last week I did a preview for the annual Project Blue Light Ceremony in Alpena. The event is to honor fallen police officers and firefighters who have been killed while serving. On Monday there was an incident which should remind us all the risks these men and women take.

Today a local deputy came face to face with a man with a weapon and even though it ended with the man taking his own life and the local police officer was unharmed, you can't help but wonder what emotions first responders experience when they approach an unstable and dangerous scene as the deputy from Alpena did today. I can't imagine what went through his head when he heard the gunshot. About his family? About death? My money is on his thoughts being on getting his job done without any loss of life.

I know my blood was pumping and I had a sense of excitement as I traveled to the scene where the shot was fired, but I also couldn't help but be a little unnerved about what was awaiting me when I arrived, because details were sketchy at that point. For rescue personnel who are the first to respond to a scene which in many cases the incident is still playing out, it must be 10 times more intense, and frightening.

Due to their training and bravery more often than not serious situations are eased, but make no mistake about it these men and women put their lives on the line each and every time they pull over a vehicle, respond to a complaint or enter into a burning building. For that, we must do a better job of thanking them and remembering them.

One of my best friends is a police officer and I have always made it a point to tell him to be careful while at work and thank him for his service. Like most police and firefighters he takes the concern in stride and continues on with his job. A job I'm glad I don't have, but a job we should all take the time to be thankful these brave individuals take on everyday. A job that one day may force them to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Project Blue Light is taking place Wednesday at the Aplex in Alpena and begins at 7 p.m. I also encourage everyone to place a blue light in a window this holiday season as a salute to those public servants who gave their lives to protect us and those who put them on the line today.


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