By Conrad Dudderar
Yukon’s first responders were lauded this week for their work on the “front lines” keeping this community safe.
“National First Responders Day” was observed Oct. 19 in the Yukon.
Yukon police officers, firefighters and hospital representatives filled the Centennial Building for a special presentation.
These first responders introduced themselves to the audience at the Yukon City Council meeting.
“This is just a small representation of the people that we have taking care of us at our hospital, taking care of us in our fire department and taking care of us in our police department,” Mayor Shelli Selby said. “Without you, this would not be the most amazing city around.
“I want to personally thank each and every one of you for putting your life on the line daily so that we can live, sleep and enjoy this community.”
First responders join forces to protect this city during emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic, Yukon Police Chief John Corn said.
“It’s what makes this city unique,” Corn said. “We can unite when we need to, to make sure everybody has a safe place to live so that this community stays as great as it’s been.”
Speaking for Yukon’s firefighters, Yukon Fire Chief Shawn Vogt said his personnel “takes great pride” in serving this community. Vogt cited the support they receive from the public, city administrators and council.
Yukon City Council Member Jeff Wootton commended the city’s police and fire personnel.
“Chief Corn and Chief Vogt, I can’t thank you enough for the amazing officers and firefighters that you have on staff,” Wootton said. “Just the best in both departments.
“The love that they have for the city and dedication is second to none.”
First responders are law enforcement officers, emergency operators and dispatchers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, hospital and medical facility staff, search and rescue personnel, and many others who serve the public.
National First Responders Day recognizes the efforts of all first responders, both career and volunteer, who are “vital members of our community, protecting our neighbors and loved ones from existing threats and remaining vigilant for new threats that may emerge.”
“Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, first responders have been on the front lines in the ongoing effort to keep our communities safe from the wide-ranging and devastating effects of the virus,” the proclamation reads. “They have worked overtime, been away from their families and, in some cases, put their health and their lives at risk.”
ICVH President Teresa Gray said “it’s been a tough year-and-half” because of the COVID virus.
“Without the support and partnership of our police and fire, we couldn’t do what we do,” Gray said.
The National First Responders Day proclamation notes that many first responders receive “relatively low salaries” (according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics), despite the challenges and dangers they face in their jobs.
Families of first responders also make “significant sacrifices” to support their loved ones’ service while living with the reality they “may not return home from the job,” according to the document.