First responders receiving honors

Police officers and firefighters are out guarding the public from dangers every day, so for one day this year, the public has an opportunity to show their appreciation to the first responders in their community.

Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Appreciation Day will be held March 2 this year in the lobby of the Odessa Police Department Headquarters, 205 N. Grant Ave. Food and drink will be available for all members of law enforcement and fire protection from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Mayor David Turner will be speaking and giving out proclamations to representatives from the various departments at 10 a.m.

Brenda Norman, chair of Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Appreciation Day, said the event means a lot to her for all that firefighters and police do for this city.

“A fireman is everybody’s hero,” Norman said. “We see these flashing lights, and the big red fire engine, and they’re fighting this flaming fire, everything is just so visible. It’s easy to love and adore them. What about law enforcement?”

Norman said that, with law enforcement, people usually see them when they’ve done something wrong. For instance, running a red light, or getting caught speeding.

“There’s just disgruntled, every-day citizens, and that’s bad enough,” Norman said. “But think about the other circumstances they face.”

While police handle minor incidents such as traffic accidents or speeding tickets, she said, they also have to deal with people high on meth, with domestic violence, with people disrespecting them or trying to assault them.

“These men and women don’t know what they’re gonna see when they put that badge on,” she said. “It just really amazes me how they still manage to be respectful. They’re putting their lives on the line for us and getting that kind of treatment.”

While Norman conceded she hasn’t met every police officer, and is sure there are some bad ones, she said she’s never seen anything but respectful police in her experience.

Pretty much every department in the vicinity of Ector County is invited to the event, including OPD, the Ector County Sheriff’s Office, Odessa Fire Rescue, the Department of Public Safety, local college police departments, the Hospital District police and all of the outlying volunteer fire departments.

Norman said an unbelievable amount of people involve themselves in the event, bringing food and drink to the officers. She said they will have people out front to take food and drinks, and Bush’s Chicken will be supplying ice and tea as well.

“You can just see people’s outpouring for their love,” Norman said. “It makes my heart flip-flop.”

If You Go
  • What: Law Enforcement and Fire Protection Appreciation Day
  • When: 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. March 2.
  • Where: Odessa Police Department, 205 N. Grant Ave.