One writer praised her relative, a captain with the Kern County Fire Department. Another woman expressed her heartfelt thanks to the California Highway Patrol officer who expertly worked to get everyone to safety after cars slid like sleds on black ice patches on Interstate 5.
These are among the letters The Californian has received so far from community members who took the time to honor and say "thank you" to our local first responders, especially during this time of the coronavirus pandemic.
These are the people who day in and day out perform the work not all of us are cut out to do. They save lives, protect property, extinguish fires, chase down criminals, rescue the injured, comfort those in trouble and lend a helping hand in some of the most dire circumstances.
The Californian plans to honor these women and men with a special National First Responders Day section to publish Oct. 28.
But we need your help, joining in the effort as our two letter writers referenced above have already done.
In up to 200 words, please send your message of gratitude to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "National First Responders Day." You can write about a particular first responder who made a difference in your life, or offer thanks to an entire profession. Include your name and city of residence. The deadline is Friday, Sept. 18.
Here's mine: On a terrible day in 2011, I arrived home to find something horribly amiss. The first cabinet I encountered as I walked through my kitchen door was ajar. I don't leave cabinets open; what was going on? I proceeded to walk through my house, my heart pounding harder and harder, to discover everything that was missing and the damage that had been done. My humble home had been burglarized, and I was suddenly thrust into a role nobody wants to claim: a victim.
The Kern County sheriff's deputy who arrived that day was amazing. He documented everything that was missing, including the pink and purple sweater (but not the matching skirt!) that had been drying from a hanger in a doorway. He even called in a technician to check for fingerprints.
But here's what was most important: He took the minutes to show he cared. He saw me as a scared and suffering person, and boy, was I, tears flowing down my face and physically shaking. He called later that day as promised to collect the full inventory of what had been snatched from my home — but also to once again express concern. The burglar or burglars had snatched my peace of mind, but that deputy tried to return some of it to me.
So readers, share your stories and let's recognize first responders!