Community Unity Rally Recognizes First Responders in Light of Recent Tragedies

The Excelsior Springs Job Corps Center’s Junior ROTC Navy program provided a flag ceremony to start the Community Unity Rally on Saturday. Photo by Courtney Cole

A small group of about twenty citizens gathered on Saturday, October 22nd at Tiger Stadium to recognize first responders and the work that they do. The community has been on edge after experiencing a domestic murder, an officer being shot, and kidnapping all within a few weeks of each other. Saturday’s rally was meant to recognize their dedication. The rally began with a formal flag ceremony performed by the Excelsior Springs Job Corps Center’s Junior Navy ROTC program.

State Representative Doug Richey spoke first addressing the police dispatchers and officers commitment to keeping us all safe, even when that means putting their own lives on the line. He said, “We are able to go to bed at night and rest our head on a pillow and not have to think a whole lot about our personal safety, because we have men and women on the streets at that very time making sure that we are safe…I’m grateful that here in Excelsior Springs, we have a long standing tradition, within our law enforcement family, to do that well with excellent professionalism and making sure to conduct themselves in a way that respects our civil liberties…we have a long standing tradition of good policing. And certainly we’ve seen that here recently.”

Excelsior Springs City Councilman Mark Spohn acknowledges the great work of ESFD by recognizing Assistant Fire Chief Zac St. John. Photo by Courtney Cole

City Councilman Mark Spohn honored the Excelsior Springs Fire Department acknowledging Excelsior Springs Fire Department Assistant Captain Zac St. John who was in attendance. Spohn stated, “Right alongside our law enforcement officers are the men and women who provide EMS services and fire protection for our residents. Having a son who served in that capacity, early on I learned a little catchphrase used in the circles of men and women at the Excelsior Springs Fire Department and that phrase is two in and two out. When a firefighter goes in to search for life and suppress the threat of fire and destruction, he or she never enters alone. A fireman or woman has their back. And when they retreat from that building they make it their goal to never leave, regardless of the color of their skin, religious convictions, or political thread, when they impeach on their mission, they operate as one with one purpose, to shoulder together the responsibility before them in a manner which seeks to save lives and ensure the safety on one another. In that same manner, our EMS personnel must work as a team when transporting and administering emergency medical treatment of those they have in their care. As we think of the past events over the last few weeks, we realized that the threat to our community has been real. We realize that it will take time to heal.”

Excelsior Springs Hospital CEO Kristen DeHart speaks on behalf of healthcare workers. Photo by Courtney Cole

Excelsior Springs Hospital CEO Kristen DeHart was there to speak in recognition of the many hospital healthcare workers that are also heavily involved when there is a local tragedy. Addressing them directly she said, “Thank you to our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, EMTs, healthcare workers, and more for making sacrifices every day. Despite these tough and unprecedented times, our team continues to put others first. During the past few weeks, it occurred to me that our caregivers go through the trauma that all of us are feeling currently as a regular part of their days. What our public doesn’t see is that these providers are troubled when a patient doesn’t do well with any disease or condition. They are joyful, when someone recovers. They are prayerful before, during and after every interaction. They are willing to put themselves, their family, and their future on the line, because they know that there are people who need them in their time of need; because they know that if they don’t do it there may be no one else to help. They get up every day knowing
the risk they are taking and then choose to take it anyway, working long and grueling hours. In times where hope is almost lost, there is one thing that holds it all together; Our healthcare heroes. No matter what a person might have done or experienced, that brings them to our door, no matter their values, their beliefs, their past, present or future, our Emergency Providers are always there, providing care through crisis, disease process or critical illness. When we fall, they are there to pick us back up.”

The sacrifices that emergency responders and their families make to provide us safety and care makes Excelsior Springs a great place to be. Even when faced with possible danger, our citizens opened their homes to a stranger in need. As a community that bands together in tragic times, Councilman Spohn said it best, “We realize that it may take some time to overcome the negativity regarding what has happened, but I believe that if we approach our healing in a manner that is like the firefighters and EMS personnel, we will come through by God’s grace and strength stronger and brighter.”

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