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When those who serve are injured, it impacts us all

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There is often a special relationship between communities and their local firefighters.

These are, after all, people willing to risk their own safety to protect lives and property in the face of out-of-control fire, something most of us find quite frightening.

They’re well trained. They are provided with the tools and equipment to deal with any number of emergencies they’re likely to face.

And it’s obvious, given their career choice, that they’re brave men and women.

But the dangers they face are substantial, and most often arise unexpectedly. That’s the nature of situations first-responders are called upon to address — they can unfold rapidly, sometimes violently.

Yet firefighters serve in ways that run the gamut, from battling blazes that threaten homes and families to tasks that receive less attention.

It was while performing one those tasks we don’t often think about that two Roswell firefighters were badly hurt last week. Jeff Stroble and Robert “Hoby” Bonham were critically injured in an explosion that occurred while fireworks were being packaged for the city’s annual Fourth of July celebration.

Stroble, Bonham and 10 other members of the Roswell Fire Department were working at the time of the explosion in a fireworks storage facility near the airport. The other 10 RFD personnel were treated for various injuries, all classified as minor, and released from a local hospital.

But Stroble, a fire apparatus operator with 17 years of service, and Bonham, who’s been a firefighter for 18 years, were severely injured, and had to be flown to a hospital in Lubbock.

An investigation was begun into what caused the explosion.

Meanwhile, people around Roswell have been looking for ways to offer support. A vigil for the injured firefighters was held at the Wool Bowl the evening of the incident, and numerous fundraisers have been organized in the days since.

It bears repeating that funds to assist the firefighters and their loved ones in the face of this medical emergency are being collected through Pioneer Bank. A donation can be made at any of the bank’s branches.

For those who want to help, the avenues are there. And we’d encourage everyone to keep in their thoughts these two firefighters and their families.

When people whose lives are dedicated to serving and protecting others are injured, it affects all of us.

Firefighters serve the community in ways we expect — often when things are at their worst — and in ways we don’t. It makes sense that by whatever means possible, large or small, the community helps as it can in this time of need for them.