Heroes Among Us

As I write this, another Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy has lost his life in the line of duty … gunned down in cold blood in service to his community.

As Managing Editor of NBC6.net, and a 25-year veteran of the news business, you would think that I’d be used to these stories by now. But the truth is, the longer I’m in this business, the more these kinds of stories affect me.

I pray that the tears I shed at my desk after seeing images of the officer’s wife leavng the hospital after learning of her husband’s death — a man who she had spoken with 10 minutes before he died — will be a lesson to my younger colleagues.

The news business is not just about being first. Every story we report has a family behind it. Being the best means recognizing and being sensitive to that fact.

Deputy Paul Rein, 76, a retired 20-year veteran of the force could have been home enjoying his retirement. Instead, he chose to continue to serve. And by doing so he gave his community — he gave us — the ultimate gift.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for another.

Deputy Rein is not alone. His name is added to the list of heroes who also gave us this gift in 2007: BSO Sgt. Chris Reyka and Miami-Dade County Officer Jose Somohano.

Sgt. Rein’s fatal shooting comes days after the Broward Sheriff’s Office celebrated what is being called the miracle recovery of Deputy Maury Hernandez who was shot during a routine traffic stop in August.

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of seeing Miramar police officers, in conjunction with BSO, capture a couple of thieves who had been seen robbing a house in the development where I live.

I was on my way home for lunch when I started seeing police cruisers on just about every corner from Miramar Parkway and I-75 all the way into my neighborhood. My heart was in my throat as turned into my subdivision and found an officer sitting inside a cruiser right outside my door.

Soon a K-9 officer joined the hunt. I watched in awe as the officers went about their job, calmly and methodically.

Within 30 minutes, it was all over. The suspects were caught and everything went back to normal. It was just another ‘routine’ day for police officers who we so often take for granted.

As a member of this community, all I can say is Thank You. Thank you to all the men and women who risk their lives every day and put themselves in harm’s way to protect us.

Thank you also to the families of those who give the greatest gift of all — the unsung heroes who carry their grief long after it’s gone from the headlines.

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