First Responders as a Household Term
During the pandemic, the terminology, “first responders” was reinforced as a household term. Our police officers, paramedics, fire and rescue teams and hospital staff, at all levels, watch over us to provide safety and security for all. These individuals are our family, friends, neighbors, and associates. They also need to care for their own families, as we do. Yet, they put us first on good days and bad days, whether it’s raining, or the sun is shining or as hurricanes impact our community.
Some of us had the luxury of time to prepare for Hurricane Ian as it approached. We didn’t have to worry about the overall safety of an entire community. Our first responders had a much greater responsibility, to care for us, and put us first. We should all be extremely thankful for their dedication and service. Our community is better and stronger because of their tireless dedication to us and their demonstration of kindness and humanity. Each of us can learn something from them.
Strengthening the Community
The West Orange Chamber of Commerce is extremely thankful to be a part of a community which includes the individuals that make up these organizations. Special thanks to the police, fire and rescue departments of the towns of Oakland and Windermere, cities of Orlando, Ocoee and Winter Garden and the unincorporated lands of Orange County. Thank you to our world class hospital systems, AdventHealth and Orlando Health, for providing us quality healthcare on regular days, pandemic days and natural disaster days.
OCPS works with local and state entities to provide shelters to those in need. Each of our municipalities and counties have all departments working to restore us back to normal. Duke Energy and OUC are constantly working to keep us powered up, as are Spectrum, AT&T, and Quantum Fiber (Lumen and CenturyLink) The employees of AMR provide timely ambulance rescue, when needed. Organizations like the American Red Cross are always ready to assist! I know I am not naming all the supportive organizations and businesses in our community, yet we respect and appreciate them all.
Giving Special Thanks
A special thanks to the city of Winter Garden Police Department (WGPD). During the night of the hurricane, the Chamber’s alarm was triggered. ADT notified me of the alarm, but I asked them not to dispatch. I suspected it was just wind. In the morning, I called the non-emergency number of the WGPD. I was told that they would dispatch someone to check on the building. Within a couple of hours, I had a message from Officer Barnes to reassure me that the building, windows and doors were fine. He even thanked me for not asking for a dispatch through 911 during the worst part of the storm. That is dedication and service that is above and beyond.
Thanks to all our heroes for caring for us during the bad days and for the times ahead as we recover from Hurricane Ian!