Honoring Our Frontline Heroes: Samuel Ortega

For the last three years, Samuel Ortega has worked as a first responder for the Norton Shores Fire Department. A passion for this field arose at a young age, watching his father serve the community in Los Angeles City Fire Department in California. Sam loved visiting the station and climbing all over the trucks.

Sadly, his father passed away from ALS, which was triggered by firefighting work. The loss was devastating and for years Sam pushed away the calling to join Fire Service, but God had other plans.

Only God would know that Sam’s service would be needed at such a time as this. Even though the call volume has lowered, the stress and mental load is much heavier. Protocols are changing daily, sometimes hourly. As a first responder, being ready and adaptable is key. Even before Covid-19, the department had a certain amount of P.P.E. (Personal Protective Equipment) to wear, and now, the P.P.E. required is greater—regardless if a patient is assumed positive or negative for coronavirus.

With every case they face, our responders must recognize and face the danger. Unfortunately with Covid-19, the danger doesn’t end at the conclusion of their shift. As they return home, they dump their clothes in the washing machine and jump in the shower, hoping to protect their own families. The danger is real, but they face it for us.

Each day, Sam and his team strive to be at their best in order to keep the community safe. Sam says that it is a hard balance between doing his job safely and wanting to jump right in and help. “For the community, we keep our heads down and keep moving forward. This too shall pass,” says Sam. “While I think our normal will definitely be a “new normal” this will pass.”

We are grateful for Samuel and all first responders. Being on the frontlines is challenging physically, emotionally, and mentally. Please join us in praying for these great men and women. Please remember Sam and his family in your prayers.

And remember these last words from Samuel Ortega…“Think for yourself, don’t believe everything and anything the media tells you. Use precaution but don’t live and operate out of fear. And above all, keep your faith.”

~A Diverse Global Article, Written by Catie Cordero

Honoring Our Frontline Heroes: Anthony Morales

Anthony Morales is a first responder in West Michigan, which means he works on the frontlines, at all times. Due to Covid-19, the challenges on the frontlines have increased. This pandemic is a threat that agencies haven’t experienced before. Policies and procedures are changing day-to-day in response to the outbreak, which leads to higher stress levels.

Anthony has been in law enforcement for over six years—first, in the Florida Department of Corrections, second, in the Michigan Department of Corrections, and now, as a Sheriff’s Deputy at the Kent County Jail. Corrections is not for the faint of heart. Each day presents new complexities. Anthony says that after a few years, many people find they cannot handle this line of work. Thankfully, we have men and women who are able to gird up under the difficulties, ensuring the safety and order of our cities.

As the pandemic continues to spread, correctional facilities are faced with growing challenges, one of which is social distancing. Social distancing isn’t always an option in a correctional setting. However, when it can be controlled, movement in and out of the facility is kept to a minimum.

Being on the frontlines in corrections requires courage and strength. Not just physical strength, but mental fortitude. We are proud of Anthony and the many workers in law enforcement. Thank you for stepping up and being ready. You are our heroes.

We echo the message that Anthony shares today, “Stay home. Wash your hands. We’ll get through this.”

Yes, we will get through this.

~Written By Catie Cordero (A Diverse Global Article)