It's important that communities don't forget the important role first responders play in keeping their fellow citizens safe. These brave individuals are ready to risk their lives to protect and save others in times of crisis. When towns and cities come together to create tributes to their first responders, either to show support for those currently active or to honor the sacrifices of those who have passed on, it sends a valuable message that firefighters, police officers and EMTs have the support of their communities. Some examples of effective shows of support include the following:

Community bonds through mural
Large-scale art projects provide ways to show unity and bring people together, especially when many hands contribute. According to the Columbus Dispatch, one such effort is now underway in the town of Millersport, Ohio. The finished piece will be a mural carrying the imagery of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, and the canvas is the wall of the Millersport Police Department. Students from the art club at Millersport High School are doing the painting themselves, based on an initial idea by Police Chief Mark Consolo.

The news provider added that the mural is set to be unveiled on the 11th, paying tribute to first responders' sacrifices on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. A local business, the Millersport Hardware Store, made a donation of the materials the students will need to finish the mural. The club members involved voiced their enthusiasm for the project, explaining they are happy to be involved with a public piece that will remain visible for years.

Both examples originate from the state of Ohio.Both examples originate from the state of Ohio.

Memorial to firefighter honors all first responders
The town of Hamilton, Ohio, recently dedicated a more somber tribute to the sacrifices of emergency personnel, installing a memorial flagpole in memory of firefighter Patrick Wolterman, WHIO reported. Wolterman died in December 2015 while putting out a house fire. The new monument outside Fort Hamilton Hospital will serve to honor both Wolterman and all first responders serving in the county. Local EMS Coordinator Jennifer Mason explained that the death of a colleague moved her and others to raise funds and have the flagpole installed.

"The service, flag and flagpole represent the great partnership among Fort Hamilton Hospital, City of Hamilton and Butler County first responders," Hamilton Mayor Patrick Moeller said, according to WHIO. "The flag is a fitting tribute to those heroic people, including firefighters, EMT staff, police personnel and military personnel, who live and work for a higher purpose. Firefighter Patrick Wolterman fits that heroic standard."

Many project types available
Each community has its own first responders to honor, and residents can choose from a long list of public displays when they want to show they care. The important part is to create lasting monuments that cement bonds between fire, police and EMS departments and the populations they protect. The sacrifices and risks that come with these job descriptions are deserving of recognition and thanks.