The Tomahawk Leader, and the community in general, are taken to task in our online Message Board for not being more appreciative of firefighters and emergency personnel. The comments follow our coverage of the 17th annual Tomahawk Fire and Rescue School, which traditionally brings about 1,000 fire and EMS workers from across the Midwest to our city for classes and hands-on training. The author also chides citizens and/or businesses for a lack of visual support through the way of "Welcome" signs like those that followed for the Tomahawk Fall Ride.
We readily admit that we can always do a better job of coverage of virtually any event, and fully agree that this annual undertaking warrants our utmost attention. That, of course, is why we seek out information each year for a preview story and send a reporter or personally cover the fire school every year. A photo or two from the event traditionally are printed in the Tuesday edition right afterwards (as was the case again this year; it's also the way we treat the Tomahawk Fall Ride), with more photos to follow the next week because of the timeline of the activities. In past years we have often dedicated a full page to scenes from the fire and rescue training. This year we pulled a larger layout that had been earmarked for a page last week to give it four-color coverage in this week's edition. You'll see the photos there today. We also have placed a number of pictures in our on-line Internet Edition Photo Album and will continue to rotate in others this week.
Call us sensitive, but we know this newspaper is a strong supporter of local fire and rescue personnel, and we think we show our support publicly quite often. We recently scanned through a year of newspapers for a different project and found front page, fire-related pictures and stories on at least nine different occasions. The events ranged from winter coverage of an ice dive by the Little Rice Fire Department to reporting of the new Nokomis Fire Department to actual firefighting at emergencies themselves. Of course, the front page isn't the only place you'll find stories. We've done editorials and inside articles, features and photos as well; We even followed one family's recuperation after a house fire - from the devastation itself through their rebuilding. Their comments about the tremendous community support were published in this year's Tomahawk Leader "What's Great About Tomahawk" pride section.
The Tomahawk Leader also dedicated two awards to emergency personnel at our 2002 Community Awards Banquet, and spent hours creating a video production to help share that support. The video was requested for use by the fire department at last year's Fire and Rescue School.
Again, we don't deny that more coverage of the heroic acts of our local volunteers and others who dedicate their lives to service isn't warranted. But, similarly, we do believe our support of their efforts is not silent.
As always, thanks area firefighters and emergency personnel for your dedication. And, congratulations on another successful training event.