July 9, 2013 — We never say thank you enough to the brave men and women in Susanville and Lassen County who respond to an emergency, and that should change.
When our homes or land are engulfed in flames, when a friend or family member has a medical crisis, when a crime is being committed or when two vehicles collide, our first responders leap into action without regard for their personal safety. We call, and they respond. Every time.
We can never forget how our community lost one of its own when Luke Sheehy, 28, perished fighting a wildfire last month. All those who knew and loved him will sorely miss him.
We also should never forget how Sheehy and other first responders put themselves in harm’s way to protect us whenever there’s an emergency.
Responding to a mobile home fire on Russell Avenue last week, Susanville firefighter Anthony Smith went that extra mile and used his training and expertise to resuscitate a cat overcome by smoke. Sadly, a second cat did not survive.
Now Smith probably would adopt that same old, stoic, ah-shucks, I-was-only-doing-my-job stance most first responders take when their actions draw public attention. These folks will tell you they’re trained to keep their cool in an emergency when most of us would let our emotions get the best of us. It’s all in a day’s work, they say. Maybe so, but this is a perfect time to acknowledge their dedication and service.
We posted a couple of photographs of Smith with the cat, named Tom Tom, on our website, lassennews.com, and the story and photos instantly drew responses from readers — nearly three dozen so far — all of them positive.
One reader thought Smith should receive an award from the city. Another wrote a 6-year-old just named his new cat after the firefighter.
It’s easy to see why animal lovers everywhere would get a little tear in their eye and praise Smith for taking action to save someone’s four-legged companion. But the story’s really much bigger than that.
This is what they do. This is the spirit our first responders demonstrate each time they answer a call. Public safety and saving lives are their first responsibilities — even if that means working to save the life of someone’s pet cat.
We can all trust these brave men and women will respond with all the care and expertise they can muster when we find ourselves caught up in an emergency.
So next time you see one of these first responders, take a moment to say thank you for all they do for us.
For many of us, and most recently for little Tom Tom, they truly are lifesavers.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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