Unsung heroes

Published 7:48 pm Monday, May 27, 2013

It can be easy to get caught up in the community hero worship that springs up around police officers and firefighters, especially when those first responders do such heroic things as have some of the members of both departments in Suffolk have done during the past year or so.

Suffolk police officer James Winslow has been honored for valor several times since he was severely beaten by a suspect he was chasing last spring. Similarly a group of firefighters from the city has been honored for its heroism in saving a woman from a fire. Both Winslow and the firefighters surely deserve all the accolades coming their way for their actions.

But in honoring them, sometimes community organizations lose sight of the great contributions some very average men and women make to the city every day, just because of their simple commitments to do jobs or to volunteer for organizations that work to improve the lives of people who are often overlooked by society.

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The Pilot Club of Suffolk, on the other hand, makes an effort each year to honor just those people. During the organization’s 26th annual Civic Night recently, members presented awards to a police officer, a firefighter and a paramedic, but they also honored the Outstanding Bus Driver of Children with Disabilities and the Outstanding Teacher’s Aide to Children with Disabilities, and they made small donations to a variety of community organizations — from the Literacy Council to Crime Line. The club even honored some Suffolk businesses for being especially supportive to the community.

Communities like Suffolk thrive on the hard work and dedication of all sorts of people. We are used to calling many of those people heroes without the slightest bit of irony or hyperbole. By honoring such a broad range of community workers, though, the Pilot Club extends deserved recognition to a group of largely unsung heroes.