It’s a fortunate place to be

Published 7:58 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2018


They’re the first people you’ll see in the case of emergency, prepared for nearly anything a 911 call can throw at them. From property thefts to homicide, minor accidents to major ones, house fires to field fires, heart attacks to diabetic emergencies, Beaufort County’s first responders are often the fine line standing between recovery and tragedy.

In those situations, the people in uniform are to-the-point, getting answers they need to break up a fight, solve a crime, determine a medical condition or figure out if someone is trapped inside that burning building. When most people encounter law enforcement, emergency services personnel and firefighters, those are somber occasions.

What many don’t see, however, is the lighter side to first responders, such as a firefighter dressing up as Sparky the Fire Dog to entertain children or traveling with the “smoke house” to elementary schools to teach young students how to respond in the case of a fire at home. A police officer might volunteer to be the “dunkee” in the dunking booth at National Night Out or give a tour of his police vehicle during a neighborhood meet and greet.

Over the holidays, personnel with Washington Police and Fire Services once again showed the softer side of first responders with two events. They happened on the same day just before Christmas. The first, in partnership with Beaufort County Department of Social Services, was a shopping trip to Walmart for children with special needs, whether physical or financial (for those in foster care). Each family was teamed up with a firefighter, police or probation officer, to escort them on their shopping trip. Later that day, Washington Police and Fire Services teamed up again, this time with children from a local daycare, to deliver the children’s handmade Christmas cards, some treats and a gift bag to each elderly resident of River Trace Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

There was a theme to this year’s Christmas visits: these first responders are going out of their way to acknowledge those who may be forgotten.

It’s just one step more to go from protecting a community to caring about a community. It’s a fortunate place to be — here.