I had the distinct honor this month to be presented with the 2016 Legislator of the Year Award on behalf of the Ohio Fire Chiefs’ Association (OFCA). Growing up in a family with strong ties to the firefighting profession, especially in my hometown of Clarksville, I can imagine no greater recognition. I have made every effort to devote my legislative career to supporting our first responders, the men and women who devote all of themselves to keeping our state safe.
Since 1910, the OFCA has supported the interests of Ohio’s fire chiefs through education, professional development, and legislative activism. Its ultimate mission is to improve the safety of Ohio and its citizens by leading, representing, educating, and supporting Ohio’s emergency services. Because of the support system the OFCA provides, our firefighters and emergency medical responders can more ably do their jobs.
Many people don’t truly recognize or appreciate the kind of work and sacrifice it takes to be a firefighter. As the son of a third generation volunteer firefighter, I have a very real understanding of the time and dedication it takes to serve in these kinds of roles. From working unusual and long hours that require firefighters to be away from home to risking their lives each time an emergency arises, these men and women endure a high level of risk and stress in order to serve our state. Such a career can understandably take a toll on the family, so it is important to have a community like the OFCA to encourage those on the front lines.
These days, it seems that our first responders, firefighters and law enforcement officers alike, don’t always get as much appreciation or positive encouragement as they deserve. In the Ohio House, we do everything we can to thank those who selflessly serve on our behalf to protect, uplift, and provide aide to citizens and communities in need. Nothing can quite repay the sacrifices these public servants make every day, but my fellow legislators and I strive to honor them.
The OFCA is an important resource and partner to the Ohio House as we research and create policies that will both benefit this profession and educate our communities. Through sound, common-sense legislation, we can ensure that the needs of those who serve and the safeties of the great state of Ohio are met. At the end of the day, when we each return home to our families, I hope we can take a moment to thank those who have chosen a path in life to serve and protect.
Cliff Rosenberger is the Ohio House Speaker.