First responders model selflessness for the rest of us

Published 9:06 pm Friday, August 2, 2019


The Advocate-Messenger

Kentucky counties often view each other as rivals.

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We all want the team from our county to beat the team from a neighboring county in football, softball, basketball — whatever sport they happen to be competing in.

We all want our county to land the big new factory instead of the next county over.

But in reality, those county lines don’t really exist. You can’t drive to the edge of Junction City and find a big yellow line that divides Boyle and Lincoln counties. When you cross the Dix River on Ky. 52 into Garrard County, you’re still breathing the same air you were a moment ago in Boyle County.

A little competition is usually a healthy thing. But if you take competition too far, it becomes discrimination, even dehumanization. We don’t want to go down that road.

We have to remember even when we’re competing against each other, we’re all really competing on the same team. Cooperation must be allowed to eclipse competition.

Our local first responders are our best role models when it comes to cooperation across boundaries that might otherwise divide us. You can see that in the response to the tragic pipeline explosion in north Lincoln County early Thursday morning.

The explosion happened in Lincoln County, but it wasn’t left up to Lincoln County to handle it. First responders from all the surrounding counties came rushing to the scene, eager to assist. You name an emergency response agency in this region, it probably did something to help, even if it was indirect support — Russell County, for example, doesn’t even border Lincoln County, but it sent ambulance crews to cover Lincoln County’s EMS needs while local first responders were needed at the scene of the explosion.

Sadly, one person was killed and five people were injured due to the explosion. But it could have been even worse if first responders had not shown up as quickly and in as many numbers as they did.

Local first responders often take pride in being from the county or city they serve. In that way, they are no different than anyone else. But when that big call comes in and they are needed, they don’t let borders define how they react — they lend their efforts for the good of their neighbors both near and distant.

We should all learn from first responders how to treat people from here, there or anywhere — with respect, compassion and selflessness. We don’t have to give up pride in our own community to do that; in fact, we ought to take pride in being a community that treats others with the same kindness we show ourselves.