As a NY State EMT and volunteer firefighter, I have the honor and privilege of working beside the most courageous men and women in our communities. They come from all walks of life but all have one common thread. The thread of "courage" runs through every pint of blood, every muscle, joint, tendon all the way down to the smallest of cells. Although many, if not all, are afraid for their loved ones, these courageous heroes have chosen to help others above all else. They fight an unseen enemy yet bring aid and comfort to the very scared, sick and sometimes dying with their caring eyes, warm touch and soothing voices of reassurance. Please thank your local first responder because on the outside they may look tough, hardened and stoic but underneath this shield there lies personal pain, fear and struggles that we are all feeling. I am in awe each and every day of my brothers and sisters for their dedication and resolve against the unknown.