When you were a kid, did you ever want to be a firefighter, a police officer or maybe drive or work in an ambulance? We tend to be drawn to the idea of these professions because, even as children, we see people in these jobs for what they really are: everyday heroes.
Who exactly is a first responder? They’re the people who show up when there’s an accident or emergency, including police, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics, search and rescue, air medical and more. They tend to run into situations that most of us are trying to avoid when disaster strikes.
October 28 is designated as National First Responders Day. This day is the perfect opportunity to honor the efforts of our first responders, and to thank them for working so hard, often putting their own lives on the line, to make the rest of us safe.
When was First Responders Day founded?
In 2017, Congress designated October 28 as National First Responders Day. The bipartisan resolution was written to officially honor all those who are first on the scene in stressful situations. It’s worth noting that Andrew Collier, brother of Sean Collier, a police officer who was ambushed and murdered during events related to the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, helped established the day to recognize brave first responders like his brother.
3 easy ways to honor first responders
Our first responders show up to every crisis or accident, such as a school shooting, a car accident or a fire, ready to put the needs of others above their own. Understandably, many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due of the intensity of the situations they regularly witness. Those situations can leave unseen scars. So while our first responders are busy saving lives and keeping our communities safe, we can support them by publicly acknowledging their bravery and the importance of their mental health.
Wondering how you can help? Here are three ideas:
- Say thank you! Why not write a thank you note and mail it to your local police station or fire house. If you want to have food delivered to the crew, call first to ask about needs. Or if you’re out and about and you see a first responder, say thank you in person. Who wouldn’t want to hear, “I appreciate how hard you work for our community”?
- Donate to support first responders’ mental health. A quick Google search will bring up a host of organizations that would appreciate your support of their efforts to help first responders more effectively deal with job-related trauma.
- Donate to a cause that supports all first responders. Once again, Google is your friend. You’ll find a wide variety of organizations that provide support to surviving spouses and children, match companion animals to service personnel who need them, and host fundraising runs and other athletic events. Choose one that speaks to you, and consider making your donation in memory or honor of a first responder you know.
Do you have a meaningful way you like to honor the first responders in your life or in your community? Consider posting photos on social media, using #nationalfirstrespondersday. You just might encourage others to do something similar.
USBA is a not-for-profit Association that provides group life insurance, health insurance supplements, and other products and services to military personnel, Federal employees, National Guard and Reserve members, Veterans and their families.