Editor’s note: This article is part of a series where we thank the Unexpected Heroes who put themselves at risk to keep Utah running during the coronavirus pandemic. Every Monday, we'll highlight a different industry and ask you to write in to thank the workers in that industry for their service. During the week, we'll profile someone who works in that industry. Every Friday, we'll publish some of your submissions and send the messages of thanks to those in the field.
SALT LAKE CITY — There are some whose jobs were risky before the outbreak of a global pandemic. Few groups know that reality better than the women and men who work in law enforcement and corrections.
Highway patrol troopers, police officers and sheriff's deputies help people in their most critical moments, and corrections officers work in prisons and jails.
These women and men work long hours and are at risk every time they report for duty. The outbreak of a global pandemic has only increased that risk.
Because of this, we reached out to Utahns, who have responded by the hundreds in the past few weeks to thank the Unexpected Heroes throughout the state. You did not fail us, Utah.
Here's what you had to say
"It’s funny because don’t think they’re unexpected heroes in the slightest. These individuals are putting on bullet proof vests and guns on their hip to go to work. How many professions could actually be targeted just because of what they wear to work, what they do. These people are brave! And are in the face of danger every single day. Not just when a virus has emerged. They leave their families and don’t know if they’ll return. They don’t do it for money. They certainly don’t even do it for respect. They do their job to try and make a difference in the world. Even at their own potential detriment. That is heroic! Thank you to our dear law enforcement officers who do I job I would never dream of doing. For protecting us while we sleep. For making the world a little safer and a little better. Be safe! "
"I guess I feel that you are what stands between ordinary people and anarchy. You must have enormous courage to risk death and violence and inattentive drivers, every day. Like schoolteachers, you would probably be underpaid at a million dollars a year. We literally could not go on without you. Thank you."
"Thank you for risking your lives, not just during this pandemic, to keep us safe. Thank you for always running toward the danger while the rest of us run away. Your service is appreciated. Now if we could raise your salary, and that of all heroes, to compensate you for what you risk daily, then I think our appreciation would mean a little more than just lip service. Thank you for all you do."
"Very much appreciate your choice to work in this often ungrateful profession. Your willingness to serve our communities on a daily basis and then the extra mile you all go in times of greater need should not and cannot go unrecognized. 'For me and my house' we are very grateful for all your honorable service to us and our communities."
"I cannot thank our LEOs here in Utah enough. And not just during this pandemic, but every day of my life. There have been a few times in my life when everything was going wrong and there was nothing but chaos. LEOs have come into the situation and set order, calm, and peace. They sort all of it out, bring help, and everything is okay. Few of us think angels wear uniforms but I do."
"Thank you for continuing to keep Utah safe during this time that puts you at risk even more than usual. Thank you for being willing to jump in and help when you see someone who needs help. This past week I felt gratitude for police officers when I saw a Magna police car, follow a truck to the side of the road that had a flat tire and was trying to pull off. We live in Riverton, so he wasn’t on duty, he just immediately saw a need and didn’t hesitate for a second to help. I am grateful for good men and women serving in our police departments who have that instinct to jump in and help. Thank you! We see you and are so grateful for your service."
"Thank you so much for your dedication and service. I come from a family of LEOs and know the not so pretty sides of the job. But still you all get up every day and put on that uniform to protect and serve. For that, I thank you, more than words could ever interpret. Stay safe, and give a big thank you to your families at home too!!"
"Thank you for your dedicated service and keeping our community safe during this time. It can’t be easy to leave your family each day, but just know that we are praying for you and grateful for the work you do."
"There are no words that exist to express my gratitude for your willingness to put your lives on the line every moment of every day and that gratitude has only deepened during this time of COVID-19 where an additional factor has been added to putting your lives on the line. Thank you does not seem to say enough but it is the best thing to say, so sincerely THANK YOU!"
"Dear Police Officers. You have the hardest job on earth. As a regular law-abiding citizen of this community I want you to know that you are appreciated and even honored for the amazing work that you do. Thank you for putting your life on the line every day to serve us. You put up with a lot of disrespect from a lot of people. But I hope you know that the rest of us so appreciate all that you do. Thank you and thanks to your families for sharing you with the rest of the community. God bless you!"