Hey Mom, guess what I did today? I took the door off of a car! Now, if most mothers or fathers were told something like this, several questions might float through their minds — How high are the insurance rates going to rise? Were you drunk? Was anyone hurt? Are you trying to put me in an early grave? Would you like me to put you in an early grave?

It’s a little different, though, when you’re doing it as part of an exercise in vehicle extrication.

Life is funny sometimes, isn’t it? On Saturday morning, I woke up and headed down to the Cave City Fire Department, where such an exercise was scheduled for the young crew.

This would be an opportunity for me to get some good photos and a nice story.

Oh, I got a story alright!

Never did I expect the chief to get some gear and have me suit up for a little hands-on demonstration.

What, dress up as a real fireman and wield heavy tools with metal crunching capabilities? How can anyone say no to that?

Now, believe the hype ... those pants, coat and boots are hot as Hades.

It didn’t help that the temperature by 9 a.m. was spiking toward hot as a ... well, you see my point!

Then there was the jaws of life, which were heavier than I expected. Or maybe I should do a few more push ups instead of jogging that extra quarter of a mile.

With assistance from assistant chief Adam Maulden, I wielded those mighty jaws and snapped that door off like it was a twig.

OK, so it’s not quite that simple. There is some work to be done just to get a big enough opening to fit the jaws in.

Still, I felt pretty proud of my achievement. When I woke up Saturday, I did not expect that was how my morning would turn out.

More importantly, however, it gave me just the smallest sense of what area firefighters truly do when they are called upon for assistance.

And it’s not just the boys in the big red trucks. Over the last few months, I’ve been fortunate to spend time on the job with members of the Glasgow Police Department and Barren County Sheriff’s Department.

For just a few hours, I’m given a window into their world and what goes into keeping a community safe.

On these occasions, my perceptions also changed. Like most teenagers, I can remember thinking of police as the “bad guys” and firefighters as the harbingers of doom.

Well, with age and a few first-hand accounts, I realize that all our emergency personnel are really looking to accomplish is ensuring our little spot of the world is a safe and secure place to live.

They are out there every day doing what they can for both those they know and total strangers, without any thought of reward. Also, they are handling themselves in a very courteous and professional manner.

First-hand accounts like the one I had Saturday, sitting at a checkpoint with the GPD over Memorial Day weekend, tagging along with sheriff’s deputies on calls and taking part in a January training conducted by the Glasgow Fire Department all have helped remind me of that.

I want to thank Mr. Maulden and CCFD Chief Kenneth Moulder for accommodating me on Saturday.

This appreciation is also extended to the other agencies that have shown me just a little of what their duties truly encompass.

Your dedication to Barren County is highly appreciated.

Brad Dickerson is a staff writer for the Daily Times. Contact him by e-mail at bdickerson@glasgowdailytimes.com

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