Fear can be a tough thing for people to overcome, but in some way, we all face it. Fear is not anything to be ashamed of or regret; it is a self-preservation response we have for survival. There are some who are fearful of public speaking or taking a chance to jump into a new career or go to a new school. But danger seems to generate more fear than anything else and looks very different to each of us. In some cases, it all comes down to how we manage our fear.
Our heroes are no different. They all have various levels of fear, yet they seem to be able to manage it more effectively than most people. The fear of charging into war, fighting flames or responding to a violent domestic call might be way too much for most of us, yet we have hundreds of thousands in our communities across the country who have responded to the call. What makes them different from everyone else? Only they know. They have the same personal challenges and responsibilities everyone else has. They look the same; they grow up in the same communities. So, what is it? Who knows, but it is a real thing.
Fortunately, those who do not serve their community in public safety or the military love to support those who do in any way they can. I often think about the love they show their heroes and try to understand their perspective. One thing I recently realized is the willingness the hero shows in the face of fear is where the love originates. Most people understand that they might not be able to face the same level of fear, and that creates the support. They see themselves in the eyes of the soldier, firefighter or police officer.
This month, the Cobb County Chamber of Commerce is showing its support to our community heroes who step out in the face of fear for others. The chamber’s Public Safety Appreciation Week began with an Oct. 2 luncheon, where a large number of first responders were honored for their bravery and service.
At the Kennesaw Police Department, we continue that support of our officers and dispatchers with our annual awards banquet. This year, we will be hearing of officers’ heroic efforts to save lives at the risk of their own, and we will see the personal sacrifice they make to care for people they don’t know, just because it’s who they are. Join in the celebration for those who run in when everyone else is running away.
Until next time, stay safe.
– Bill Westenberger has served as chief since 2008. He was given the 2019 Kennesaw Citizen of the Year Award.