Ingraham column: A chance to express gratitude to first responders |

Ingraham column: A chance to express gratitude to first responders

Jim Ingraham
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

We are Americans. Americans are somewhat unique in the world. We believe deeply that those who govern derive their power from us, the governed. We believe that we are entitled to certain rights, rights which are bestowed on us not by those who govern but some higher power. The first 10 amendments to our country’s Constitution, which we refer to as our Bill of Rights, were intended to embody in our Constitution a recognition of these rights.

Americans talk a lot about our rights. But in this column I want to talk about our responsibilities … or at least one responsibility that I believe almost all Americans would agree upon: a responsibility to express our gratitude to those who sacrifice so that the rest of us can enjoy our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That would be our veterans, of course, but it would also be our first responders.

Emergency calls to the communications center, known as dispatch, are quickly assessed and relayed to the proper agency, often while giving assurance and sometimes lifesaving directions to the caller.

On a hot windy day recently, firefighters walked toward the flames to extinguish a spreading wildfire in South Glenwood before it could reach the nearby homes. The week before they responded to reports of a home ablaze in my neighborhood, and contained it before any other homes were damaged.

On a daily basis police officers insert themselves into potentially dangerous and even deadly situations. Domestic violence calls, reports of violent behavior by individuals who are mentally ill or impaired by alcohol or drugs; these are common situations our police officers face. And time and again they attempt to diffuse the situations before they escalate.

When things go terribly wrong on I-70 or Highway 82, EMT responders as well as police officers and firefighters rush to the scenes that the rest of us cannot bear to see.

The stressful situations our first responders face to keep the rest of us safe take their toll. It is well-known that first responders can suffer the same post-traumatic stress symptoms that our military veterans do. What can we do? The least we can do is acknowledge their sacrifices on our behalf and express our gratitude.

Fortunately, the good men and women of the Glenwood Springs Elks Lodge 2286 are providing us with an opportunity to do just that. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 11, the Elks will be hosting “Burgers for Badges,” a tribute to first responders from Gypsum to Rifle and Carbondale. First responders and their families are invited for lunch on the Elks in appreciation of their service to our communities. And the rest of us beneficiaries of their sacrifices are invited to attend … to express our gratitude. A suggested donation for the rest of us is $5 per meal. Burgers for Badges will be held in the courtyard of the city and county buildings in Glenwood Springs.

Let’s have a great turnout. Let’s fulfill our responsibility to thank those who willingly risk their own health and safety so that we can enjoy ours.

Jim Ingraham is a former Navy officer, former partner with the international accounting and consulting firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and a former member of the Glenwood Springs City Council. He is also a member of the Glenwood Springs Elks and Rotary and a volunteer forest ranger.

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