Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Real Heroes

Yesterday the Austin RWA group invited three real life heroes to talk to us and give us insight into what life is like for firefighters, sheriffs and police officers. We got three great guys. They were surprisingly tolerant, too, of all the questions we writers had for them.

As I listened, I found myself thinking what a shame it is we only hear about police officers when something goes wrong, not all the thousands of times things go right. We hear about firefighters and how heroic they are putting out fires and saving lives but last night we got to hear how this one loves to spend time with his family.

These three men are clearly dedicated to their work and to making a difference in the world. They put heart, a sense of humor, and people skills at the top of their list of skills needed to be good at their jobs. Listening to what they do every day, it’s clear these guys are dedicated to their communities as well as to their jobs. Why else would a guy who already works 13 hour days take on the position of school board member and spend his Friday’s visiting schools?

Last night we got to see the human faces behind the hero roles. Yes, there are bad apples in any profession and a bad police officer or firefighter can do great damage. I suspect, though, that most people—men and women—who go into these professions are like the three guys we saw last night. They truly do want to make a difference in the world and to help people.