Unsung heroes

Published 5:15 pm Saturday, February 14, 2009

All too often, many people go through their day without once thinking about the many people who keep them safe.

Military members in numerous places throughout the world, police officers, firefighters and emergency medical services personnel are the shining stars of our communities. Each one of them gives up time away from their family and friends, normal working hours and peace of mind to do jobs that are mentally and physically demanding and, at times, extremely dangerous. They do all this because they are driven to help their fellow man in his time of need and keep him safe as he goes about his daily life.

Recently, one of these stars of the Suffolk community retired after nearly 41 years of public service. Tom Nichols began his firefighting career in 1968 with the Nansemond County Fire Department. He advanced through the ranks, being promoted to lieutenant in 1973, to captain in 1986, and to battalion chief in 1997. Throughout his career, Nichols not only saved many lives and extinguished many fires, but also provided leadership to younger firefighters who will continue to do the same for years to come.

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Nichols’ dedication to his job is truly remarkable, and those of us who work seated comfortably at our desks can only marvel at him and all the other public servants out there. A round of applause and a heartfelt “thank you” are in order the next time you see a military member, police officer, firefighter or EMS provider. They deserve it.