(88) America’s First Responders

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)


About the time our US Marines took a beating in Fallujah, Veterans and law enforcement officers across the country expressed frustration and helplessness for not being able to fight overseas. I attended an annual luncheon in Orange County, California, for first responders attended by nearly 1,000. After a prayer for our military, the speaker, a police psychologist, spoke directly to the hearts of our law enforcement and firefighters.

“While our military is out fighting for our country, protecting us from the enemy and protectingfirefighters in planning our freedom, you are doing the same here on American soil.” He explained that law enforcement and firefighters protect military families so our warriors can leave the US to do what needs to be done overseas to protect all of our families.

While I do not remember the name of the speaker, his message stayed with me over the years. I have always loved our first responders since I grew up in a family of law enforcement but I had never looked at them this way.

Everything changed for Americans with 9-11. The US previously enjoyed an unspoiled lifestyle free from tyranny and free of fear from our enemies. The attack on American soil meant we no longer could live this way. The speaker told us at the luncheon that our law enforcement officers need to carry their weapons everywhere—even in church. Our firefighters and emergency workers must be prepared to respond 24 hours a day, whether on duty or not. Our country entered a new era where we could no longer separate the work thrust upon the shoulders of our military from our first responders—all fight for our freedom and safety, just in different venues.

Police in formationRight before I left my job in Orange County, I received a phone call from the Chief of Police of my new city, alerting me to a shooting at a mega church that police and fire responded to. The shooter randomly targeted people in the parking lot as church let out. He killed two girls and injured others following a shooting earlier that day where he killed two more and injured others in a city near Denver. While a church security guard shot him, he turned the gun on himself to end the rampage of terror.

We might expect this type of attack in the battlefield but not at home. As violence grips our world, we need our military, our Veterans, and our first responders to keep us safe. We also needfish in net our citizens to step up. A fishing net comes to mind with this analogy. A torn net loses fish and becomes worthless as the net rips apart under the weight of fish. Our safety works the same way. Every link, must be connected and strong to resist danger. Together with the bravery of our military overseas, our first responders protect us on the home front—in our sleep, at places of worship, at schools, shopping, etc.

Just as we express our gratitude for the work of our military, past and present, we need to express our gratitude for the bravery and dedication of our law enforcement and firefighters.

Bark a Shout Out

Dog paw elevatedWhere is Molly in this blog? Well, she is outside protecting us from the bear and other vermin. I know she concurs and will give a big lick to the next police officer or firefighter who happens by her way. For now, she barks a shout-out to our police, firefighters, sheriff, and other emergency and law enforcement officers.

Post your Comments:

Given the recent string of violence against our law enforcement officers, what can we do to show our support and thanks for their commitment and dedication to our safety? Please reply below.

Photo credits: 123rf.com (except for Molly pics); police department photo public domain courtesy of City of Colorado Springs

About the blogger

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.