In the line of duty

Cabarrus County Emergency Services Memorial Dedication, January 4

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Dec. 31, 2013 — When emergency responders gather, two types of stories are overheard. The first is a celebratory reprise of just-in-time rescues that save people and property, and the second is a sobering flashback of courage, effort and loss. Both accounts weave a common theme of service, strength and passion. On Saturday, January 4, local emergency responders, elected officials and the public will gather to share stories and dedicate the Cabarrus County Emergency Services Memorial. The service will take place at 12 p.m., on the corner of Church Street and Corban Ave., between the Government Center and jail in downtown Concord.

The ceremony will include placement of a wreath, playing of the bagpipes, reading of names, placement of roses, ringing of the bell, and remarks by local emergency responders and elected officials.

On the monument are names of fallen responders etched onto granite, a Maltese cross (firefighter symbol), a Star of Life (Emergency Medical Services [EMS] symbol), the Fireman’s Prayer and a plaque for the Cabarrus County Firemen’s Association. The cap of the monument is lined with bricks that are engraved with the name of each fire, EMS and rescue squad stationed in Cabarrus. It is a place for the community to remember our heroes and honor the work of Cabarrus emergency responders.

“The monument is representative of the commitment and the sacrifice public safety providers make to the community they serve,” said Alan Thompson, director of Cabarrus County EMS.

To Tim Smith, president of the Cabarrus County Firemen’s Association and firefighter with Allen Volunteer Fire Department, the memorial represents decades of blood, sweat and tears.

Smith began working in emergency response more than 16 years ago. At age 18, he watched as volunteer firefighters who had left their homes and families helped rescue a friend when he nearly died in an accident.

“I wanted to repay the favor,” said Smith. “I took an EMT class and started volunteering. I had no idea I would enjoy it so much. Now, I can’t imagine not doing this.”

Smith hopes that when a person visits the memorial, they are reminded of what local first responders do to protect our community.

“Our work can be long, hard and thankless at times, but it’s very rewarding,” said Smith. “By looking at the memorial, you can tell that firefighters never forget our past—our history. The monument is a permanent symbol of gratitude to the countless men and women who help their fellow man.”