By Jack “Alex” White III, columnist ~ “Small towns, big potential”
This special column is dedicated to Dominic “Nick” Winum and all of our brave first responders
There’s a funny thing about living in a nice place like Page County — all of us get to enjoy the benefits, while precious few sacrifice in the ways that make it possible in the first place.
More often than not, those sacrifices are made by our first responders — people who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe from medical maladies, fire and crime. Many do so voluntarily, and those who are paid do not get nearly enough to compensate for their service.
We saw that firsthand last week, when a man laid down his life for the community he loved. It was a sublime reflection of John 15:13: “There is no greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” If grief is any clue, then there is no one who did not count him as a friend.
The Good Book also tells us that, “You will know them by their fruits.” He leaves behind a legacy of love and respect — buttressed by a strong family which stands as a monument to his character.
Most importantly, his legacy is that of every first responder — a willingness to sacrifice their lives so that we can enjoy a lifestyle that we far-too-often take for granted. They do so without any desire for recognition, and many never receive it. Worse yet, some face outright disrespect.
While they give everything, we are only asked to do a pittance in return — pulling over for flashing lights and enduring the occasional siren. Thanks to those first responders, our families don’t have to live through the profound pain that their families experience every single day.
In this time of grief, I hope that the next siren moves us to gratitude. We can’t all sacrifice everything, but we should all sacrifice something in order to thank our first responders.
You can start with this GoFundme, and I hope that you won’t stop there.
After all, there is no greater love than that!
Jack “Alex” White III is the Executive Director of the Rural Leadership Initiative and the District 1 Representative on the Page County Economic Development Authority — where he was reported to have been “Virginia’s youngest government official” at the time of his appointment.
Alex is a lifelong native of Page County and graduate of Luray High School.
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