A moment for reflection
Call this taking stock: Each year about this time, a simple service is held in the Vail Interfaith Chapel to remember those who fell while serving others in the line of duty.
Fortunately, unless you are a member of the family, only four Eagle County law enforcement officers or firefighters have died this way over the past century.
The most recent was Vail Police Officer Ryan Cunningham, who fell from an I-70 overpass May 6, 2001, while working on a traffic accident. Rescue work on I-70 might just be the most dangerous emergency work in this county.
Gypsum Fire Chief Dave Vroman still gets choked up remembering the loss of volunteer firefighter Cruz Carbajal to a brain aneurysm on duty Jan. 4, 1993.
The Sheriff’s Office has lost two officers: John Fletcher Clark July 12, 1961, trying to stop a killer; and Oscar William Meyer Nov. 2, 1937, in a gun battle.
This work we citizens tend to take for granted is demanding and dangerous for police, firefighters and emergency medical professionals in the field. These words come too seldom, and they understand that, but the community they protect really does owe them a debt of gratitude.
Listening to the speakers in the chapel Monday afternoon, the audience had a chance to reflect on this, the loss that can strike again as soon as the next call, and the supreme decency of the vast majority of men and women who serve the community and country this way. In Eagle County, we are blessed.
This extends to our soldiers in Iraq, whose commitment to America’s ideals far supercedes the evolving prison scandal of the moment and the despicable behavior of a few.
A little time for reflection in the chapel has a way of putting things into perspective.