Neighborhood heroes have earned honors

June 7, 2012  PLYMOUTH EAGLE.


Last month, throughout the area, police officers and fire fighters were honored in several communities as Officers of the Year.

The stories of the actions of many of these men could have been lifted from the pages of movie scripts. These men and women exude heroism while remaining down to earth and unassuming about what they do. “It’s the job, that’s what we do,” they almost all repeat like a mantra when asked about their actions saving lives and putting their own safety directly in harms way.

Three officers in Westland were recently chosen for honors from the state for their life saving actions during a house fire. These three entered a smoke-filled house with no visibility to help a bedridden woman in her 80s escape. The acrid, black smoke was so thick, the three officers, who did not have breathing apparatus, had to leave the home so they could clear their heads and lungs before they turned around and went back into the toxic smoke and carried the woman out.

She thinks they are heroes.

In Plymouth, two police officers went into a smoking three-story condominium building last year, without equipment, and fought their way down smoke-filled hallways, feeling along the floor and walls for doorways to warn residents of a 3 a.m. blaze in the building. They had to physically break down doors to get to sleeping residents, many of whom were senior citizens, to help them out of the building.

One woman who was carried to safety from a second-floor balcony by Plymouth Township Fire Fighters wrote to say that she knows these men saved her life. In a letter to Plymouth Township Fire Chief Mark Wendel she wrote about the horror of the experience and her gratitude to the men who broke down her door and carried her down a ladder from her balcony to safety.

“I am very appreciative and pray for your safety always,” she wrote in her letter thanking the Plymouth Township fire fighters who saved her life.

There are stories like this almost every day from nearly every community. These police and fire officers pull people from car crashes, they tend to medical emergencies including falls, accidents, drug overdoses, seizures…they’ve seen it all. And invariably, they provided help to the victim, to the family, to onlookers by the very nature of their presence at the scene.

These fire fighters and police officers put themselves between citizens and danger every day. These men and women don’t know when a routine traffic stop will turn into an assassination attempt. They don’t know when a fire call will require them to put their own lives on the line to save others.

These people have to fear the worst in every situation they encounter, no matter how innocent the call may seem, because the price of carelessness is often injury or death.

We think, too often, the hero worship lauded on actors, sports stars, pseudo-wrestlers and drugged out rock singers is misplaced.

The real heroes are at the local police and fire stations. When crisis strikes and you or your family need them, you’ll agree.







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