The statement "a lucrative year for a handful of public employees" came from the first sentence of Feb. 11 Columbian story "Overtime taxes city budgets." Wow, I just bet all of those firefighters, policemen and emergency responders are just sitting around hoping for an emergency so they can get more overtime. Do you think overtime is the reason when the siren screams or the call comes in on the radio, they respond? No, it is because they are responders. That is what they do.
Cities, counties and states all cut back on the number of emergency responders, training and equipment to balance local budgets. Fewer responders means more overtime and more stressed personnel. So many times over the decades we have been visiting with our son and daughter-in-law when the siren screamed, and they both jumped out of bed, or up from the table, or out of the garden and sped with radios in hand to the fire department. They never asked, "Why?" They just responded for hours and hours of grueling work and danger. Emergencies are not convenient or planned, but someone always responds.
I hope when the need arises, all of us have a responder who comes to help.