No one should need a reminder to thank heroes for what they do. But incidents like yesterday's fire at the Lakewood/Brick border do serve as a reminder of what these brave men and women do for all of us. Read my open letter to the heroes who fought the blaze.

Dear Firefighters and First Responders,

You all have family members and loved ones. You all have lives to lead. You have people you care about and people who care about you. You have parents, children, partners, grandparents and grandchildren.

You all have jobs to go to. You all have favorite foods, movies, sports teams, hobbies and passions just like the rest of us. And you have dreams. But when we go to work, at least most of us, don't run toward danger. We don't run into areas that our instincts are telling us to run away from. But you do.

Would we run into the flames if we knew our loved ones were inside? We would, and so would you. But you do it, day in and day out, for the loved ones of complete strangers. And you do it without hesitation. That takes a certain kind of brave.

That takes the kind of courage that many of us dream of possessing, but very few ever will obtain. It takes the kind of selflessness that only true heroes have.

True heroes like the firefighters and first responders who put themselves between the people of the Jersey Shore and the roaring flames that threatened us. The people who put their dreams aside, their safety on the line, and the Jersey Shore on their shoulders.

You will never know the countless lives you have saved and changed. You will say you don't want credit, or awards. But what you do have is the unending respect and love of the strangers you place in the safety behind you while the danger rages in front of you.

Bless you and. bless your families and loved ones. Bless all the people and things that are important to you. Bless your courage, and bless your heart. And from the bottom of mine...a humble thank you.

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Lakewood Brush Fire 3/14/21

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