TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ)– Those who are called to a life protecting others know that someday they may die doing their jobs.
Now, as Mike Schuh reports, police and fire families gathered for the 27th year in honor of those who have passed away serving the public.
Hero is a word used too often, but not today, not here.
“I found from the day he was born, my son was a hero. And he truly did what they always do, whatever it took, if it meant protecting a citizen,” said Priscilla Hunter, Trooper Shaft Sidney Hunter’s mother.
They remember nearly a year ago. Shaft Sidney Hunter’s patrol car rear-ended a parked semi-trailer on I-95. He died at the scene and was given a hero’s farewell.
“He rushed into this world very quickly, and he left me as quickly,” Priscilla Hunter said.
Some of the most powerful people in Maryland are here– mayor, governor and many chiefs. Sharing the stage, another famous leader, but one who says compared to those who sacrifice, his job isn’t even in the same league.
“There are so-called heroes in sports, and then there are the real heroes in life,” Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said.
When Harbaugh asked all the relatives in the audience who lost someone to stand, a third of the enormous tent took to their feet.
For his part, Harbaugh felt humbled.
“It’s about caring more for your community and your family and other people than you care about yourself,” he said. “Putting yourself in the ultimate jeopardy. What is greater than that?”
These are fathers, sons and brothers. Their families were at the center of a ceremony that’s the only of its kind in the nation, a place where first-responders are thanked by a grateful public.
This is the first time since this ceremony began in 1986 that there has been only one honoree.