Take time to thank a first responder

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last Thursday, I attended a Cassville Little League baseball game at the Cassville City Park. I was there to watch the Eagle Heat and Air team battle it out against a group of Mt. Vernon youngsters. The Eagles were playing the late game that night, so they had to wait until two other minor league teams cleared the field before they could begin warming up.

As the Eagles took the field to begin preparing for their game, most of the youngsters who played the earlier game headed home. A couple of the boys who remained at the park began to wrestle in the open area near the playground. Suddenly, one of the boys was laying on the ground with a pained expression on his face. He complained of a neck injury.

A parent who was nearby when the accident occurred called for Brad Harvey, one of the Eagles' coaches and a Cassville first responder. Coach Harvey was quick to respond to the call for help. He assessed the youngster's injuries and immediately called for an ambulance.

Soon, Cassville Police Officer Donnie Privett arrived on scene to offer his assistance. Officer Privett was essential in maintaining an adequate amount of space around the injured youngster and providing comfort for the boy's mother and other family members. Within a few minutes, a second first responder, Derek Acheson, arrived at the park and stabilized the young boy's neck in a brace.

Officer Privett, Coach Harvey and Acheson all remained with the boy and his family until paramedics arrived on scene to transport the youngster to the hospital for further treatment.

Although I have met many of the volunteer first responders who serve our local area, this was the first time I have seen them in action. I was very impressed with the compassion and knowledge that the men demonstrated during this emergency. They helped comfort the child and his family as they worked to stabilize the injured child. It is nice to know that these individuals are in our community ready and willing to assist in times of need.

I hope that all local residents realize how valuable our volunteer first responders and other emergency personnel are. These men and women offer assistance in emergencies, not because they are being paid, but because they want to help. Volunteer first responders often give up time with their own families in order to respond to emergencies.

In addition to providing assistance in emergency situations, volunteer first responders and local firefighters present home and fire safety programs at local elementary schools and take time to host community events like annual barbecues and Fourth of July celebrations.

We shouldn't wait for an emergency to thank our local volunteers and emergency personnel for services they provide. We should make a point to show our appreciation each time we see these men and women in our communities.

Lindsay Reed