BOSTON (CBS) – There were a lot of emotional tributes flowing online and elsewhere Wednesday night as we learned of the horrific loss of two of Boston’s bravest, firefighters Edward Walsh of West Roxbury and Michael Kennedy of Hyde Park.

And among the many heartfelt expressions of gratitude and regret was one I want to respond to, a tweet from someone who wrote: “Firefighters are our heroes who no one appreciates until they give their lives for us.”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

I hope that he or she didn’t mean that the way it sounds.

Anyone who has any understanding of what firefighters do on a daily basis has tremendous appreciation for the risks they take and the professionalism and courage their jobs demand.

My first exposure to this was 37 years ago when I covered the fatal crash of the traffic helicopter from the all-news radio station where I was working. I’ll never forget the horror of that scene and the fire caused by the crash, or the calmness and sensitivity of the firefighters who had responded.

I’ve seen those traits manifested again and again over the years, exhausted firefighters, their gear soaked and covered in soot, showing supreme concern for displaced occupants at their moment of trauma.

And many times I’ve witnessed the community caring of firefighters who make their positive presence felt in countless ways that have nothing to do with fighting fires.

These men and women are salt of the earth role models before they ever do their thing, described so aptly after 9-11 as running toward the danger that everyone else is fleeing.

So never doubt how much they are appreciated, and how we all are profoundly appreciative of the gift the Walsh and Kennedy families gave us.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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Jon Keller


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