Under the yellow helmet and soot-covered jacket is the love of my life and father of my children. He is not the same man I married—he is even stronger, wiser, and has chosen a job of servanthood and danger. My husband is a firefighter and EMT.

As an EMT, he performs CPR, saves diabetics in diabetic comas, treats fractures, delivers babies in the field, treats seizures, treats gunshot victims and victims who have been abused beyond what our brains can comprehend, administers oxygen therapy, and treats strokes, trauma/burns, and heart attacks.

As a firefighter, he responds to bomb threats, extinguishes fires, responds to plane crashes, stabilizes accident victims, secures fuel spills, stops gas leaks, secures downed power lines, extricates trapped victims, and stabilizes chemical incidents.

He teaches young children about fire safety.

He has pulled severely burned bodies and lifeless bodies out of fires, walked into homes right as a victim took their last breath, has told family members that their loved one was gone, only to hear their violent screams, and has worked tirelessly to re-start hearts.

He has talked to a victim contemplating suicide, held a dying child, and seen the worst of humanity day in and day out. He has helped countless overdose victims and saved victims who were shot and/or beaten by the people they call family and friend.

He risks his life to save others, cares about his community, and works 24 hours shifts without sleep.

My husband is a first responder.

He puts his life on the line to be there for others on their worst day. He tries to turn their day around by responding quickly, providing warmth in his voice, and trying to be kind even when people put down our first responders.

My husband and all first responders represent a ray of hope our communities need to draw more light from.

We can all lend a helping hand to our neighbors and bring warmth to someone’s worst day. We can be kind to those who have experienced physical and emotional abuse and turmoil rather than lash out at strangers for no reason at all.

My husband has seen the worst of humanity, yet somehow tries to find the best in it.

We never know what events the day has held for those we come in contact with. Maybe the barista at the coffee shop was just diagnosed with stage 4 cancer or her husband just asked for a divorce.

My husband is also a father, a son, and a friend.

He returns home from shift, welcomes our crazed and energetic two-year old into his arms as soon as the door swings open, and responds to his constant desire for daddy to read to him, build LEGO towers, and race cars, all without sleep for over 30 hours.

My husband is my hero. The man under the yellow helmet and in the soot-covered jacket is a man who has seen pain and death and still believes in fighting for life every single shift.

Heroes don’t wear capes—they are the men and women who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe and aim to build a stronger tomorrow. They put their lives on the line every single day to protect us from crime, fire, disease, and war.

Today, I encourage you to thank a first responder. Thank them for putting their lives on the line and for kissing their families goodbye for extended periods of time, missing their kid’s first soccer game and holidays because they desire safety for their communities.

Our first responders are constant reminders that our communities long for hope, reconciliation, and sacrifice to make the world a better place.

Every night my husband is on shift and my 2-year-old whines “Daddy, home?” all I can do is pray that the man under the yellow helmet and the soot-covered jacket does return home the next morning.

We thank those who put their lives on the line to give us hope and help keep us safe. Your sacrifice does not go unnoticed.

You may also like:

The First Responders Prayer

My Daddy is a Protector of Hearts and Lives

Lizzy Christian

Lizzy Christian is a writer, firefighter wife, and mommy. She is the founder of the Beautiful Chaos Blog, whose goal is to aid young girls and women in their self-image and healing journey in all phases of life. Lizzy received her undergrad in Crisis Counseling from Liberty University and her Master of Arts in Human Services Counseling – Crisis Response and Trauma from Liberty University’s Graduate School. She is a NYC Marathon finisher and avid runner, former School Counselor and Athletic Director. Visit www.lizzychristian.com for additional resources and upcoming projects.