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Nederland Chamber salutes first responders

NEDERLAND — Police Chief Darrell Bush said in much of the United States, it hasn’t been easy to be a police officer lately.

Police families used to worry their loved ones might not make it home because of a bad guy. In today’s social climate, they have to worry about the community at large.

But the citizens of Nederland demonstrate, time and again, their support and appreciation for the men and women that uphold the law and keep them out of harm’s way — from peace officers and fire-rescue teams to medical first responders that arrive in dangerous situations with little to protect themselves.

Nederland residents and family members thank their Nederland police, firefighters and emergency personnel during the Nederland Chamber’s “Salute to First Responders” Friday morning at the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex.

Nederland residents and family members thank their Nederland police, firefighters and emergency personnel during the Nederland Chamber’s “Salute to First Responders” Friday morning at the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex.

Diana LaBorde, Nederland Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau president and CEO, said the Bulldog community has supported its Nederland first responders in Back the Blue, See You at the Station, First Responders’ Day, and a city-wide moment of silence in honor of their sacrifices — but she wanted to do more.

Instead of selecting a business of the month this October, LaBorde said, the Chamber decided to host a “Salute to First Responders” in the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex Friday morning.

“These are the men and women that run toward the danger when everyone else runs away,” LaBorde said Friday. “We thank God for these people.”

Nederland residents and family members thank their Nederland police, firefighters and emergency personnel during the Nederland Chamber’s “Salute to First Responders” Friday morning at the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex.

Nederland residents and family members thank their Nederland police, firefighters and emergency personnel during the Nederland Chamber’s “Salute to First Responders” Friday morning at the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex.

“Right now, it’s not an easy time to be a police officer,” Bush added. “But things like this make us realize there are people who appreciate us. It makes you feel good to know you’ve got people behind you, supporting you.”

Nederland Fire Chief Gary Collins said there aren’t many first responders who get into such a high-stress, dangerous career just to have a job.

“The ones just looking for a job leave within the first year or two. The ones who stay are in it because it’s their calling,” Collins said. “They go above and beyond — caring for their city and their citizens like they’re their own family. That’s what being a first responder is all about.”

Nederland Mayor Richard “Dick” Nugent, left, Councilmen Don Albanese and Billy Neal, and Diana LaBorde, Nederland Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau president and CEO, chat during the Nederland Chamber’s “Salute to First Responders” Friday morning at the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex.

Nederland Mayor Richard “Dick” Nugent, left, Councilmen Don Albanese and Billy Neal, and Diana LaBorde, Nederland Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Bureau president and CEO, chat during the Nederland Chamber’s “Salute to First Responders” Friday morning at the Homer E. Nagel Public Safety Complex.

Twitter: @crhenderson90