Firefighting is one of the noblest professions, and we are blessed to have some of the best in the business. Time and time again, the Jacksonville Fire & Rescue Department (JFRD) demonstrates excellence as one of the premier Fire/Rescue departments in the nation.
In years past, I witnessed their bravely and selflessness first hand during hurricanes Irma and Matthew. We saw their courage on full display with the active shooter at the Jacksonville Landing, when crews training nearby ran into the fray to treat the wounded. And we see their dedication in the countless calls for service that occur every day throughout our community.
And just hours after the ceremony, JFRD search and rescue teams who along with our partner agencies never lost hope in the search for Braxton and Bri'ya Williams erupted into shouts of joy as the missing children were found in the woods near their westside home.
Read the Fallen Firefighters Memorial Day proclamation
Few among us would run toward gunfire to help those injured in the crowd, wade chest-deep into rising waters to rescue those stranded in their homes, or charge into roaring flames and dark smoke to carry victims to safety.
The heroes whose names are engraved upon the wall at Fire Station 1 are among those who would. As do all those brave men and women who wear the JFRD uniform, signed up willingly to do this important work, and swore an oath to the people of Jacksonville. It takes a person with courage, compassion and commitment to live the life of a first responder. I thank them all.