Emergency response is a dangerous profession and when a death occurs in the line of duty, the unexpected loss is devastating for loved ones.
Providing support and solace for family members is the mission of Safety Net of Missouri, an initiative formed in 2012, according to Jefferson City Police Det. Mark Edwards, a founder of the nonprofit organization.
In the aftermath of separate incidents nationwide involving the killings of law enforcement officers, the organization's efforts were outlined in a News Tribune story Friday.
In Cole County, the group provides $5,000 for the family of a law enforcement officer, firefighter, paramedic, EMT or corrections officer killed in the line of duty.
A goal for the group is to build its finances to provide families of fallen responders with a lifetime of assistance, including mortgage payments, health and dental insurance, education assistance and other aid approved by the board of directors.
To that end, Safety Net is organizing a concert — the So Long Summer Music Fest — to be held Sept. 16-17. at the Jefferson City Jaycees Fairgrounds.
Edwards said he hopes withdrawals from the fund balance never are necessary. "My standard response," he said, "when talking to individuals on the street is 'We hope never to have to us this,' but we want to take care of families. If something happens to one of these families, we want to be prepared, more so now than ever with the way things are going in the nation."
Safety is about preparing for positive outcomes. A safety net is designed to ease the consequences when unanticipated circumstances prevent positive outcomes.
The phrase — "expect the unexpected" — is often quoted because it applies to so many aspects of life. It applies particularly to the lives of professionals who respond to emergencies, which, by definition, are not expected.
We echo the sentiments of the organization's founders. We hope the Safety Net of Missouri isn't needed, but we're thankful it's there.