Trending Topics

Why we should recognize Ferguson responders this Thanksgiving

On the eve of this U.S. holiday, we should all be grateful for the work EMS, fire and police are doing to protect to those in Ferguson

I’m quite proud to be an American.

Despite our differences, conflicts, and challenges to see eye to eye, we remain a nation that others strive to become. We work hard, pay our taxes, complain a lot about our politicians and somehow keep the spirit of democracy alive and well, 238 years after our birth. We lend a helping hand ─ and open wallet ─ to those in need, whether at home or abroad.

Certainly we have our issues ─ bigotry, classism, economic repression ─ as does every other country. As a society, we try the best we can, every minute of every day.

Then, there’s Ferguson.

It’s been tragic to see people, in many cases people with criminal backgrounds, destroy their own neighborhoods, steal from their community, and otherwise worsen an already bad situation. Fortunately, most of the city is quiet and most of its citizens are peacefully protesting, as is the right of all Americans. The quiet and peaceful protest often gets lost in the 24-hour news cycle.

Change won’t happen through mindless mayhem. Rather, we need more activism. Vote in a city council that represents the community. Support a school system that can educate students capable of becoming police officers, lawyers, engineers, paramedics and other professionals.

Nothing long lasting ever comes about overnight.

What should not go unnoticed in these riots is the work the folks responsible for the safety and well-being of Ferguson are doing to provide EMS, fire and police protection to both law-abiding citizens as well as those who disobey criminally. We know our job comes with hazards; all we can do is prepare, train and be ready when called upon.

On the eve of this holiday, I am thankful that our colleagues are doing what they can to help.

And on that note, let me wish the rest of you a peaceful and fun weekend with friends and family. If you are working the holiday, thank you for your service.

Art Hsieh, MA, NRP teaches in Northern California at the Public Safety Training Center, Santa Rosa Junior College in the Emergency Care Program. An EMS provider since 1982, Art has served as a line medic, supervisor and chief officer in the private, third service and fire-based EMS. He has directed both primary and EMS continuing education programs. Art is a textbook writer, author of “EMT Exam for Dummies,” has presented at conferences nationwide and continues to provide direct patient care regularly. Art is a member of the EMS1 Editorial Advisory Board. Contact Art at and connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.