There are dates that live scarred into our minds.
The day Pearl Harbor was bombed is a first hand memory for those of the "greatest generation," John Kennedy's assassination for many of the baby boomers, the Challenger disaster for Generation X and of course Sept. 11, 2001 for all of us.
Three years ago this next week that day took America back. First and foremost in our minds were the victims of the attack.
Then came the concern for our country as a whole and then for our individual communities.
The anxiety, the fear and the uncertain future; it all added up to a feeling most people in the United States had never had.
But it did reinvigorate most peoples regard for the very people who are our defenders and helpers in time of disaster. We saw the police, fire fighters and other first responders taking on a dangerous situation first hand, live on television.
We saw many of them triumph over adversity, and we cried. We saw many more killed in the line of duty, and we cried even more.
Yet despite the tragedy, standing head and shoulders above everyone were these reassuring figures, that still stand tall today.
The danger that day was in New York and Washington D.C., but nationwide responders take risks with their lives to save others every day. Sometimes those situations are due to human actions, other times they relate to mother nature or the pure accidents of life.
While there are no skyscrapers, little violent crime, few major disasters and, up until this time, no terrorist acts in Carbon County, nonetheless local responders still stand there ready to take the blow for the common citizen.
Each year the emergency personnel in Carbon County respond to hundreds of calls. Some are in regard to people who are having health problems. Others have to do with crime. Many have to do with accidents of one kind or another. Regardless of what those incidents are, heading into an unknown storm they do it with a determination and professionalism that would make any big city organization proud.
This county has something that many other counties and even cities don't possess: cooperation amongst agencies. The Helper Police Department, the Price Police Department, the Carbon County Sheriff's Department, the Wellington Police Department, the East Carbon Police Department and the Utah Highway Patrol often work together on everything from criminal cases to auto accident investigations.
The fire departments in the county back each other up and help out where needed as well. The Price Fire Department, the Helper Fire Department, the Wellington Fire Department, the East Carbon Fire Department and the Sunnyside Fire Department all interchange with each other when needed and support the efforts of the others constantly.
The rescue squads that are part of each of these fire departments also work together well. And the Carbon County Ambulance personnel serve everyone in the area, along with the Sunnyside Ambulance Service which takes care of the east county.
One of comments that is often made about Carbon's emergency response teams is the level of training and sophistication they exemplify. The leaders of these organizations constantly work on training regimens and do everything they can to assure their responders have every piece of equipment they can get to make their job safer and the service they provide more effective.
A great many of the people who respond to emergency situations are volunteers; they get nothing except the satisfaction of serving their community and helping others. Others get minimal amounts to risk their lives.
Few people realize what is required of these men and women. It's not just a matter of jumping in a truck and speeding to a fire or driving to an accident to see what can be done. All of the skills that they need to respond properly had to be learned. Training time takes up a great deal of their lives. They learn their skills through service training, outside workshops and certification classes. In this day and age these are a must for anyone serving.
Other areas of involvement are growing all the time as well. In the last couple of years more interest in creating a (Citizen Emergency Response Team) programs has emerged in the country. Those programs are up and running, with volunteers learning skills they hope they will never use.
Under these programs volunteer citizens get some training in first response techniques, light fire fighting and some types of rudimentary extraction techniques for removing people from collapsed structures. Programs like this have started all over the country in large cities and are now filtering down to smaller communities.
It's an unsure world and the only constant is change. But the men and women who are first responders are ready to handle any situation, through training and adaptation.
That is why we want to honor those that protect our county, our cities and our homes.