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Military Members and First Responders


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Military members and first responders

Military officials and first responders risk their lives for protection of the American country, communities, and people. The American people and government do go a long way in appreciating their contribution to safety and security of the entire public. The occupational risks they have to work with are by far the most precarious among the many professions available today. More so, the circumstances to their death are diverse, and it is almost on a daily basis that terms such as smart, selfless, fearless, honorable, and loyal are employed in eulogizing fallen military personnel as well as first responders. Such eventualities do indeed wound the families of these servicemen and women such that their financial, emotional and readjustments that they have to cope with after such loss. Even when  they are alive and serving their communities more should be done other than honoring them, there is the need to focus on pertinent issues such as the emotional, mental and physical need of the families of first responders involved in emergency scene situations. In most cases their families are ill prepared to cope with emergency situations. This paper seeks to look into the ways in which little is done to accord these first responders and their families when in service and in the wake of their demise after tragedy strikes while they are in the lie of duty. There is quite a distinct difference in the way the governments describe the importance of the roles of first responders and the actual situation on the ground as this paper will highlight.

Touching on the events that led to the demise of Brad Harper, a 23 year old firefighter from Phoenix, as well as the loss of Daryl Raetz, a 29 officer also killed in the line of duty, the threats that this first responders and family men face are real (Montini). According to Montini, a columnist with the Arizona Republic, most people working and in the private sector and for the government have in the past and recent past regarded first responders as rip off artists (Montini). Such terms used to describe first responders are indeed a profanity and unwarranted for considering that these people do sacrifice a lot to try and ensure the safety of the common American people, as well as those individuals who have sought to term them as greedy con artists. The sacrifices made by first responders are indeed enormous. When first responders and their unions call for better implementation of strategies formulated to ensure for work place safety and efficiency, governments in most cases cite budget cuts. Dismissing their claims as being detrimental to the far disbursement of taxpayers’ monies and that the funds are in most cases misappropriated by incompetent administrations.

In a show of solidarity, many officers, family members, and friends of officer Raentz turned out in large numbers to offer moral support to his daughter on her kindergarten graduation ceremony (Montini). Unfortunately, the hypocritical tendencies of other federal and government officials who in essence dictate the use of federal and state funds tend to be silent after such tragic incidences occur. It is sad to imagine that such reactions could actually surface from federal and state officials knowing to well that they do get public service unions, as well as pension funds.

As much as these officials do talk of heroism and bravery of first responders after these tragic incidents, it is equally important that such comments are not only through wordy speeches but also through consistent actions. This has to be done to ascertain and ensure that the family of such fellow fellow citizens resonates through robust deeds. This is to ensure that their families are able to cope with such loses which affect them socially, emotionally and financially. As Montini clearly states, such speeches should not only be heard after families have lost their loved ones in the line of duty but should be reverberated on a regular basis (Montini). This can essentially lead to a better public opinion of the role and duty undertaken by these officers in enhancing the security of American citizens more so to preserve the dignity of American rights and freedoms.

There have been calls from among the public for better use of their hard earned tax money to be allocated for more dignified pensions for military officers and first responders. The Arizona public acknowledges the many sacrifices and risks are borne by both the military service men and first responders. More so, the public echoes the need for better service contracts for these career service men due to the inherent fact that they are in most cases there when the general public requires their assistance. This has reached the proportions that surpass political divides with most civilians conceding to the fact that first responders will most often respond to a distress call regardless of its nature or time.

Similarly strong statements from the public have resonated calling the Arizona state officials to desist from perceiving and portraying public safety officers as ‘enemies’. Some sections of the public have noticed that federal and state officials have been in the forefront of trying to cut on the already negotiated remuneration awards of first responders. The irony is that when first responders do loose their lives in the line of duty, these government officials are the first to put on a sorrowful face and offer superficial sympathies to the families of lost first responders (Montini). This is a worrying trend and should be strongly discouraged. In the event that there is some burglary attempt in your house or your neighbors’, a first responder coming to your rescue will not be interested in knowing your political affiliations whether liberal, conservative, and republican or a democrat, black or white, Muslim or Christian. A first responder chief concern will be to ensure that the distressed member of the public is in safe hands and his or her property too.

It can be indeed reiterated that men and women in official uniform should be accorded a higher degree of dignity for the services they offer to the American public that is actually accorded. The deaths of firefighter Brad Harper and state officer Daryl Raetz who were both in their prime years, have dealt a huge blow to America as a country, the state of Arizona as well as the general American public (Montini).

It is therefore quite important that in this time when the cause of death is quite fresh within us that many other first responders and military servicemen do indeed put in line their lives for the betterment of we, the common American people. It is more critical however, to submit to the fact that as the state of Arizona mourns these great and dedicated men, that we do honor the many more left standing and are willing to put their life on the line for general public safety. They are ever willing to offer their assistance on call whenever we the public, are in a distressing situation. The odd thing is that even the politicians who ‘demonize’ their much needed output in security and well-being do also call for their assistance when such need arises.

The federal and state governments should play a more proactive role in enhancing the training, safety and care of first responders’ families which will go a long way in improving efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. It is most unfortunate that the state officials put the wife of the fallen firefighter Brad Harper in the most demeaning of positions when they regarded to first responders as being greedy. It is a most unfortunate outcome that such statements could come to light knowing to well that these men risk their lives attempting to save the lives of others. Mrs. Harper, now a widow, adds that her husband never got to drive a new automotive and her children had to make do with second hand clothes (Montini). Their house with limited space was a sacrifice made so as to craft the best out of the 30 year pension offered by the state. She added that firefighting was a passion to her late husband, and he made sure that his family lived comfortably regardless of the circumstances. Being considered as greedy has made her wonder if city, state, and federal politicians have any ears to listen to the cries of the common people. As such better remuneration packages should be offered to ensure that they and their families live more dignified lives which will in effect improve the communities’ perception of first responders. The state and federal governments should walk the talk and reduce the disparity in the intended respect and the actual respect accorded to first responders in life and in death. The state and federal administration should do more for first responders and their families.

Work cited

Montini, EJ. “Honor the dead; respect the living.” Azcentral opinions. May 22, 2013. Web. May 25, 2013 <

National Military Family Association. “Resources for Wounded or Injured Service members and their Families.” National Military Family Association. 2006. Web. May 25, 2013 <>

Smart, Harry. MOPH’s First Responder Program. Military Order of the Purple Heart. 2013. Web May 25, 2013 <>

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