Are Firefighters Still Heroes? - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/11/02 - Jacksonville

Are Firefighters Still Heroes?

   From family to friends, it seems as though our relationships have more meaning since 9-11. That's especially true for a new brand of heroes, our firefighters, who say their lives have forever changed in the eyes of the citizens they serve.

   "People are more aware of the fact that we actually have a good chance of not coming home when we leave for work," Words that are a reality for Jacksonville Firefighter Jimmy Ragsdale.

   What Ragsdale and his fellow brothers from the central station do day to day hasn't changed since 9-11. They're still helping folks, but the way people see them is very different. "People do see us as heroes and have more feeling for what we do," tells Captain Kevin McKinney. "We don't see ourselves as heroes, we do this because we love it and enjoy it."

   A passion that doesn't expect a spotlight, but thankful for the gratitude that makes their profession proud. The men of the Jacksonville Fire Department don't want their fallen brothers to be forgotten, that's why Captain Joe McLane created a symbol of hope through a decal they call the praying hands. "The message is just really simple to get the message out to pray for the firefighters from New York and all the people affected by this." The decal is now adorned on many cars across East Texas, and at least one from every state in the nation.

   From a pair of praying hands, even good things can be found from the darkest moments in life. "A pat on the back always does someone good," Captain McKinney reminds.

   The "Praying Hands" car decal has raised more than $8,000, all of which has been sent to the New York Fire Department. If you'd like to buy one, call the Jacksonville Fire Department at 586-7131. The cost is five dollars, all of which will continue to be sent to the firefighters in New York.

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