Heroism is About More Than Just Survival E-mail
It was very interesting to follow the story in Pennsylvania where nine coal miners were trapped for several days. The miners had become trapped while doing their job and now were fighting for their lives in the cold damp mine. An army of people worked around-the-clock to help free the trapped miners. After they were lifted to freedom, we were told that America now had some much-needed heroes. The rescued miners were interviewed on all the national news shows, were awarded trips to Disney World and signed lucrative movie, television and book contracts. These people were given treatment normally reserved for the MVP of the Super Bowl.

A few days later, another person doing her job got into a situation that didn't have the same happy ending. While doing her job, Melissa Schmidt was trapped in a cold bathroom, lying on the floor, fighting for her life. There was no army of helpers, just Melissa and her partner. There was no governor giving the television news audience a play-by-play report, just local politicians trying to portray the murderer of Melissa as a victim. There was no trip to Disney World - just a hundred mile ride to a cemetery in Wisconsin. A story like the trapped coal miners only happens once every several years in the United States. A story like Melissa's happens every several days in America. When a car bomb explodes and kills someone in the far off Middle East, we are all given all the details of the incident. When a law enforcement officer is killed in Texas or Idaho or Alabama, it's not even worth reporting.

On September 11th, we are all going to be reminded of our heroes of a year ago. There will be moments of silence and thought for those who so bravely performed their duties on that tragic day. I think we should also take a moment to remember and think of all the Melissa Schmidts who are also heroic, even if the circumstances of their deaths weren't international news. They may not have died during a national tragedy, but their cause was no less. It's you and me and cops from every state in the nation that are making America strong.

Even though what we do is not rewarded with trips and movie deals, we know we are making a difference in the lives of the people we help.

- Mike Roseen is president of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Deputy's Association. He's a crime lab technician for the Sheriff's Office.

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