Every since the rather short but dramatic event unfolded in front of myself, along with approximately forty-five to fifty-five other fellow students/onlookers, on that early Sunday evening, February 10th, 2003, I have felt that recognition and praise is warranted to the brave individuals whom resolved the incident in an incredibly swift and undoubtedly professional manner that afternoon. The incident I am referring to, as many of you will recall that were at the scene that evening, was a single white pickup truck that was, for the most part, engulfed in flames in front of the criminal justice building. I know that a vehicle on fire may not seem like that big of a deal to some of you, much less deserve a response in the Houstonian, I do wish that there was more that I could do to recognize these unique individuals. These individuals that I am referring to are the three or four Huntsville Fire Department firefighters and the lone Sam Houston State University police officer(yes, they are licensed peace officers of the state of Texas, and yes, they do possess the power to arrest, yet they also may very well someday save your life) that responded to this scene. You could almost see the single thought coming from each person’s mind carved into the thick smoke pouring from the truck, “I really hope this thing doesn’t explode.” As this thought struck fear in one way or another throughout each of us observing, not even a hint of hesitation entered into these firefighters’ thoughts as they attacked this inferno. At times, coming as close as two feet from these unforgiving flames, these heroic souls knew nothing else at the time but to extinguish this fire and eliminate any further threat to society as well as themselves. Clearly these firemen set aside regard for their own lives in order to protect and preserve the students and faculty, as well as our campus. As for the single police officer at the scene that day, not only did he manage to maintain the crowd that was steadily growing, he also managed to unscrew the cover from the fire hydrant so the hose could be connected; he then managed to inform his dispatcher of two other vehicle’s license plates that were in immediate danger from the fire and requested that they be notified immediately; upon these two students arrival to the scene, the officer eventually obtained both sets of keys and one after the other, despite the fact that the vehicle on fire could explode at any second causing this officer his life, he managed to safely evacuate both of these vehicles from imminent danger, all the while being the only officer on the scene. Clearly this Sam Houston State University police officer showed conspicuous courage, dedication, and professionalism at the risk of his very own life and in the face of grave danger.
To the professional, dedicated, and incredibly special men and women of the Huntsville Fire Department, the Sam Houston State University Police Department, the individuals that I witnessed that day place their lives at risk for the betterment of this community, and to the thousands of men and women who risk their lives day in and day and often goes unnoticed, thank you. You are all heroes and truly blessed people.