My niece Victoria was just sworn in as a police dispatcher for the City of Petaluma, and I couldn’t be more proud of her. In high school, Victoria participated the Manteca Police Department’s Police Explorers program. She helped raise 1000’s of dollars for the Manteca PD K-9 program and was honored by the City’s Chief of Police. She studied Criminal Justice at Sonoma State University, and interned with the Petaluma Police Department. Victoria is a protector, and she comes from a long line of protectors. Her father served in the United States Marine Corps and her grandfather is a veteran and retired firefighter.
I believe that it takes a special kind of person to step up and protect other people, and these people are heroes among us. Today too many people take for granted the service that first responders such as the police, firefighters, military, and EMT provide for our safety and way of life, and that is a shame.
Our police officers are under attack.
The CBS Evening News reported that “[t]here have been more targeted attacks against police in 2016 then any other year in the last 20 years.” Yes, there are bad officers, and sometimes officers make decisions that I do not agree with, but I believe that is a very small minority. It has become popular with-in some groups to villainize all members of the police, yet at the same time, when things go bad, they call on the police to protect them. Just look at Jerry Ford Jr. a Black Lives Matter leader in Houston. He was robbed at gun point and then called on the police for more security in his neighborhood. In Dallas, the group protesting the police suddenly ran to the protection of the police when one radicalized BLM protestor used homemade bombs and a sniper rifle to kill police officers. Officers ran towards the gunfire, while marshaling to safety those who were there to protest them.
Our Military is disrespected.
Last month a Gold Star Family was booed as they were given priority to exit a plane so they could make their connecting flight to collect the remains of their son Sgt. John W. Perry who died a hero protecting our freedoms. It is likely that the passengers did not know the full extent of who they were booing or why they were being given priority, but when the pilot announces to please remain in your seats and to allow a “special military family” to exit the aircraft first, the only reaction should be a sincere thank you.
Even our firefighters have been targeted.
Last week in Ohio a firetruck was shot at after responding to a fire, hitting one firefighter in the leg and narrowly missing another. The police say that the attack was targeted and not accidental. What is wrong with people? Anyone who runs into a burning building to save lives deserves respect not gun fire.
So, what can I do about it.
This time of year, I usually spend a lot of time working on projects for the year to come and reflect on the progress I have made through the course of the year. One project that I have been working on is a program to give back to the first responder community, Police, Firefighters, EMT, and Military. These are who we call upon in an emergency. They fight for us and I feel that we should return the favor.
I believe that change starts small and grows from there. I want to raise money for programs that are supporting these heroes. I am starting in Irvine, and it is my mission to raise $10,000 to donate to first responder-related charities. First responders are protectors and have our backs. I want them to know that I have theirs. You can help too, if you know anyone who is an active or former first responder you can direct them to www.IrvineFirstResponders.com. Together we can make a difference and let these heroes know that “We have your back too.”