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What is a Hero?

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                                                                        "What is a Hero?"

As I think about what emergency responders do for a chosen career, it tells me that all of us who wear or have worn a badgeover our hearts are the real Heroes! 

Hero stands for Heart, Emergency Response and Brave Personnel: Yes, every man and woman in Law Enforcement, Fire Fighting/Rescue or EMS is a hero as they enter harm's way to help those in emergency need.

 Each day, no matter what unnatural forces of Mother Nature or evils of man are present, we proudly pin that shinny badge over our heart as we report for hazardous duty.

 A hero is a person who survives the ever-present dangers in their job. Dedicated to the protection of people, property and animals. Without concern for their own personal safety - they display courage and when necessary provide that extra effort to save lives.  It is that person who gives 110 percent on their watch. It is that extra commitment which makes a hero. We know our lives are on the line every time we pin that badge over our hearts.

A hero is every man and woman who gives unrelenting hours looking for lost comrades, as in the world trade center rescue and recovery effort.

All the emergency personnel who volunteered to go to New York City to help our brothers and sisters who needed them, they did not ask for cozy warm beds, they slept where they could off shift. They gave what they could - they are heroes.

Every domestic disturbance call could be our last; every unstable fire or hazardous rescue scene could be our brother or sisters last alarm.

I never thought of myself as a hero, I did a job that I loved more than life itself. Hero is not a word for me. When I received an award, I did not feel I deserved it; I did what I did for the love of a badge. A parish and the state I live in. I did what my ancestors loved to do.

Yes, my great uncle's name is etched on the memorial wall in DC; he died in 1923, years before I was born. My great Uncle was also a Judge, killed in his courtroom. Yes, a long-standing tradition in my family, a father, grandfather and uncle who also served in law enforcement.

Every person who wears a badge for public safety does so with honor and pride.

They are filled with Heart; they care about the emergencies of everyday life and helping others.

So it is with a joyful heart, that I call everyone in public safety a hero.


Dee Dee Serpas is a retired police officer from Kenner Police Department (Louisiana).  Currently, she is the President of the TAPS Memorial Web site.   Following in the footsteps of her great-grandfather, Sheriff Paul Berthelot, Sheriff of St. John the Baptist Parish, and that of her father, who was president of FOP Lodge 2 in the late 1950s, Dee Dee became a Police Officer. First with the East Jefferson Levee Board Police, she also joined the Kenner Police Department and was the only female to graduate from the academy that year. Later, she joined the Jefferson Parish Sheriffs Office as a street cop. This makes her the only known female in Louisiana to have held three commissions at the age of 21. Her first book, Behind the Badge in the Atchafalya Swap is due out soon.

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