June has been a difficult month.
At midmonth, a bystander was wounded in a Fort Dodge residential neighborhood and two suspects were arrested and charged with attempted murder. The Fort Dodge Police Department, Webster County Sheriff's Department, Fort Dodge Fire Department, Iowa State Patrol, the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and the Fort Dodge/Webster County Emergency Response Team were all mobilized. Medical personnel from Trinity Regional Medical Center also arrived to transport the wounded person.
Heavy rains led to flooding in Webster County and other areas of central and northwest Iowa. That has put an extra demand on a variety of public agencies including police and fire departments.
Just a bit more than a week ago, a huge rescue effort was mounted in Fort Dodge when it was thought that two youngsters might have fallen into the dangerous floodwaters of the Des Moines River. Fortunately, that was a false alarm, but for the better part of 24 hours law enforcement officers, fire department personnel and assorted others worked feverishly to effect a rescue or recovery.
Last Saturday, a huge fire in a downtown building that was once a Fort Dodge church resulted in a full deployment of the Fort Dodge Fire Department and a call for mutual assistance that mobilized fire departments from nearby towns. The extremely hot day made the working conditions especially difficult for firefighters. Both during and after the blaze local police officers were called upon to keep the fire scene secure.
As law enforcement officers and firefighters go about their normal duties, it is easy to forget how important they suddenly become when crisis situations arise.
The events of the last few weeks should serve to remind us all just how lucky we are that these dedicated professionals - and volunteers - are always at hand to help keep our communities as safe as possible.
Take a few moments today to say a prayer of thanks for their efforts. And should the opportunity arise, take the time to say a personal "thank you" to these public servants.