As a First Responder you rely on your brothers and sisters on and off the field to have your back just as much and they rely on you to have theirs. When you get the news that they are no longer with us it's always a surreal feeling.
My first experience with this was a couple of years ago, I got a phone call about someone I not only went to college with, but also the corrections academy passed away unexpectedly from heart issues. After graduating from the academy, we would see each other in passing through shift change and during overtime shifts due to him being on graveyard and me on swings.
He was someone who I never had to think twice about having my back or not, I knew if something went down he would be right there to assist me which happened during multiple occasions. I could always rely on his smile to pick me up during the long exhausting shifts or just the simple… “What up McBreezy” one of the many nicknames we shared.
The most recent loss happened this year finding out we lost another officer, this time to cancer. This officer was someone I had met at the beginning of my career, someone I was assigned to shadow in the pods teaching me the importance of staying “fair, firm and consistent.” He was also someone who supported me from the very beginning when organizing a labor union, reminding me that no matter how hard it got to keep my head up and remember that I was fighting the good fight for 400+ officers, and I can say that because of officers like him, I made sure to not give up, successfully organizing Local 883 and becoming its first Union President.
Being part of the First Responder family we unfortunately all experience loss in one way or another, either from LODD, Suicide or F***ing Cancer. Even if we don’t know them personally it still hits us hard, hearing about the loss of a fellow brother or sister on social media or the news. In today’s world we tend to hear this news on the daily, and the worst part about it is watching a portion of our country that we all sacrifice to keep safe, celebrating these deaths!
It's more important now than ever for us to stick together and have each other’s 6 on and off shift. Take care of one another, encourage a healthy lifestyle, encourage each other to talk it out and not hold it in. When we stick together we can make positive things happen!
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