Posted 7/20/11 (Wed)
By Olivia Sundeen
Farmer Staff Writer
“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need to respond. I consider those people my heroes.”
McKenzie County has more than its share of everyday heroes. People who will drop whatever they are doing, rush off to help others, and don’t ask for anything in return. Our fire departments and ambulance crews, known as emergency responders, are the faces of our friends and families. These volunteers are our heroes.
Everyone who is willing to give up their time and even risk their lives deserves recognition. Each year, McKenzie County selects one person as its Emergency Responder of the Year. This year there was a twist and two people were given this award. Brothers Harold Larson and Jim Larson were awarded Co-Responders of the Year.
“Harold and Jim work well as a team,” stated David Drovdal, event organizer. “It is a very hard decision to make since it takes more than one individual to be the heart of an organization. In Jim and Harold’s case it only seemed appropriate to recognize them as a team.”
In our community we are so thankful to have heroes such as the Larson brothers and other volunteers.
“We would not have first responders if it wasn’t for volunteers,” stated Jerry Samuelson, McKenzie County Emergency Services manager. “Now more than ever before they are being called on daily. The number of calls for our area responders has skyrocketed. It has put a heavy burden on area businesses that allow volunteers to serve.”
Harold and Jim are not only volunteers, but they are leaders. Harold is the fire chief of Arnegard, while Jim is the assistant fire chief. Not only are they active in fire fighting, they are active in their community as well. Both are in the Arnegard Lions Club with Jim leading as president, and Harold has been taking charge of the fourth of July fireworks for many years.
“Without volunteers like Jim and Harold our smaller communities would not function,” stated Samuelson.
But for the Larson brothers an award such as this one was never expected.
“I was so surprised when they said my name,” exclaimed Harold. “I actually put in my brother’s name, so when they said both of us I was pretty excited. This is quite an honor.”
Jim had a somewhat similar response.
“I was really honored and almost speechless,” stated Jim. “But I really thought Harold deserved it more than I did.”
This brotherly love shows selflessness toward one another, but toward community members as well.
“I really enjoy helping people,” stated Jim. “There is a need for this kind of help. Somebody has to step up and do it, so why not me?”
It is this positive and giving attitude that gives small communities a good name. We thank all of the people that volunteer their time to help and save the lives of many.
“These men contribute to the quality of life we have in this area,” stated Drovdal. “These volunteers that are going out to save lives in that golden hour are truly heroes, and for that we thank them.”