Thank you to Florida’s First Responders
When my son was just three years old, he came very close to being swept away at sea. I wish this was an understatement.
My family and I were visiting our aunt and uncle who lived on Hutchinson Island during the winter. It was a comfortable December day and we strolled out to the beach to walk along the shoreline and see the ocean. There was no intent to go swimming. Maybe I didn’t make that clear enough to my toddler; he didn’t listen to mommy about not going into the water.
Taking off our shoes and putting our feet in was fine, but he quickly darted farther out—the receding tide was deceptive. I literally lunged toward him just in time to grab his tiny arm as a massive wave toppled over us both. I was knocked off my feet and completely submerged, doing my best to hoist him upward to where I believed the sky was.
Ah, I still get a shiver at the thought of what would’ve happened if I hadn’t been able to secure him in time.
The moment to act was instantaneous.
Adrenaline kicked in with no regard for myself, although let’s face it, the only harm that could come to me would be that I get totally drenched (well, that and a lungful of ocean water). My son is the one who could have easily perished, not being able to swim. I did what any parent would do. I responded and rescued my child.
I am tremendously thankful to know there are devoted men and women willing to sacrifice themselves and put their own lives at risk in the event of an emergency. Not just for my child, but for people, strangers, everywhere.
They are first responders—fire fighters, law enforcement officers, and emergency medical responders. They are among the first people to arrive and assist at the scene of accidents, natural disasters, or terrorist attacks. From hurricanes and snowstorms, automotive and mass transportation mishaps, to shootings and belligerent attacks, first responders have made the commitment to put themselves in harm’s way to help save lives.
Gov. Rick Scott has proclaimed January 9-13, 2017, Florida First Responder Appreciation Week in honor of these incredible citizens. Please join us as we humbly say, “thank you,” and honor the bravery of our first responders in Florida and across the nation.