By Sheriff Frank Reynolds
As a law enforcement officer, I get to work with amazing people while serving our community. I’d like to take time now to recognize our brothers and sisters in Cherokee County Fire & Emergency Services, and the magnificent job they do every day.
If you have ever been around a group of law enforcement officers and fire/EMS personnel, you will note the friendly rivalry between the groups. In law enforcement, we often kid our brothers and sisters of “eating until they’re tired and sleeping until they’re hungry.” In return, they say we eat crayons and doughnuts while watching episodes of Live PD and Cops. Hurling witty insults back and forth is all well intended because we actually care deeply about one another.
Cherokee County Fire Chief Tim Prather and his team are some of the best and bravest first responders. They work hard every day to ensure Cherokee citizens are safe and receive emergency care in their time of need.
Since I live close to one of the fire stations, each morning I hear sirens at precisely the same time, as firefighters inspect the emergency equipment on each apparatus. By the time I drive past, the station is a flurry of activity with firefighters moving trucks out of the bay, stowing gear, inspecting vehicles, and preparing themselves to meet the challenges of the day.
When not responding to calls for service, firefighters are busy staying in top physical shape. They can be seen flipping tractor tires to build strength, carrying heavy bags and ladders up steep hills for endurance, or lifting weights and running, all while wearing their turnout gear.
When they are not strengthening their bodies, they are exercising their minds, learning the latest medical procedures and techniques. Although I might joke that they are just getting ready for the next “fireman’s calendar,” they are really preparing themselves for the fight — the fight to save a life.
Whether it’s securing a line down the street in 101-degree heat, holding on to the “Jaws of Life” to free a trapped victim, or carrying a patient down a flight of stairs on a cold and windy night, it takes a special person with courage and determination to make that kind of a difference.
The job of a paramedic/firefighter/EMT also takes compassion and empathy. When I had a medical emergency a few years ago, the firemen and paramedics from Waleska were simply awesome. The level of care and understanding they gave me and my family reassured us that everything was going to be fine. The fact that they poked fun at me at the same time was part of my reassurance. Once they had me in their care, I was never worried. By the way, “Thanks, guys!”
These fine people are away from their friends and families, often for days. Most work extra jobs to make ends meet. They miss holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and their children’s extracurricular activities. It is their calling, and they sacrifice those things for you and me.
You may not know their names or where they are from, but know you are in good hands with these heroes. So, the next time you see our firefighters, paramedics, and EMTs, please give them a word of encouragement and a heartfelt, “Thanks for your service.”
To Chief Prather and all my firefighter and EMT/paramedic friends, thanks for what you do. We appreciate you very much. Stay safe out there.