I just finished reading your opinion article in this week’s Sooke News Mirror and I have to say I am appalled and unsure of the purpose of you writing it. It would be completely understandable if you were being awarded with the title of hero and in modesty argued the use of the term. To outrightly discredit and undervalue the acts of our firefighters, policemen and military is both spiteful and unnecessary. You argue that because they are trained and equipped they are exempt from this recognition. I argue that this does not negate the risk they are taking, it makes them educated and more effectively able to help those they are serving. In fact, having the time to fully understand and contemplate the risk they are assuming makes them even more heroic.
I am the wife of an individual who is both a volunteer firefighter and member of the military. I can tell you from first hand experience, every time my husband answers a page from the fire hall or is deployed on a military exercise I cannot completely relax until I know he has completed the task at hand and is safe. For an individual, especially a family man (or women) to put themselves in situations where the outcome is uncertain and their well-being; physically, emotionally, and mentally; are compromised is a heroic act.
Given that you claim to have once been a member of the fire department you must know of the likelihood of long term health effects brought on by exposure to the hazardous materials firefighters are exposed to. The emotional and mental turmoil of first responders is not to be taken lightly.
I am extremely grateful for all service people who are ready at a moment’s notice to put their lives and the livelihood of their families on the line to serve our communities and country. Oh, and in case you are interested, the actual definition of a hero is “he·ro: noun; a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities; a person who is greatly admired” (taken from the Webster’s dictionary).
I wish you all the best and are hopeful you have a change in attitude.