First responders don't have the luxury of having an "off-day," the keynote speaker at the Texarkana Rotary's annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation Luncheon said Thursday.
"There is no such thing because 50% is not good enough. You can never fight a fire or run down a criminal halfway. You give us everything you have every day," said Brian Crawford.
Crawford, senior vice president and chief administrative officer for Willis-Knighton Health System, was the keynote speaker at the event. Crawford is also a former Shreveport, La., fire chief.
Texarkana Rotary Clubs honored 10 Public Safety Officers of the Year at its annual lunch Thursday. Each Officer of the Year's agency nominated him for the award.
The Oaklawn, Sunrise, Texarkana International and Wilbur Smith Rotary Clubs co-sponsored the event, which was held at First United Methodist Church's Cabe Center.Gallery: No 'off-days' for these public servants
Crawford said he was "honored and humbled" to speak at the event. He told the audience he was still training as a Shreveport firefighter when a fellow firefighter was killed in an explosion. "It was a cold and harsh reality," he said.
He said many of those still in training did not return the next day, because they realized being a public safety officer was not a game or a television show.
"The life of a first responder is one of excitement and tragedy. You don't expect thank yous. In fact, it makes you uncomfortable. You say you are just doing your job," Crawford said.
Officers honored at this year's event include:
Texarkana, Texas, Fire Department—Driver Engineer Marty Lawrence
Texarkana, Ark., Fire Department—Capt. Gary Dodd, Engineer Larry Cook and Firefighter Tye Downs
Bowie County Sheriff's Office—Deputy Ed Steger
Miller County Sheriff's Office—Deputy Joshua Pendergrass
Texarkana, Texas, Police Department—Officer Clint Akin
Texarkana, Ark., Police Department—Cpl. William Smith
Texas Department of Public Safety—Trooper Karson Brown
Arkansas State Police—Sgt. Kyle Peek