A sense of duty comes in many forms for a first responder.
For a firefighter it can mean running into a burning building, or talking a suicidal person off the edge of the Bridge.
For a police officer it can mean staring down an armed suspect, or sorting out a domestic violence incident with compassion and care.
In the era of COVID-19, many first responders from Chelsea who participated in last Friday’s regional COVID vaccine clinic said they did so out of a sense of duty.
“I just really felt it was my duty to get the shot,” said Fire Capt. Michael Thompson.
The clinic was put on in Revere at the Rumney Marsh Academy middle school last Friday afternoon, and those from first responders from Revere, Chelsea and Winthrop were invited to get their first dose of the vaccine. Chief Brian Kyes led the effort, being the initial Chelsea first responder to get the vaccine along with chiefs from Revere and Winthrop.
“This is outstanding,” he said. “When the pandemic is over, I’ll be at ease, but at least we can see the light here. I am encouraging everyone when it’s their time to get it. That’s the only way we’ll get back to some normalcy.”
He said it was very meaningful to have the three communities come together for the vaccine – as they were some of the worst hit in the state.
“The communities of Chelsea and Revere, and Winthrop to some extent, have been hit hard,” he said. “It only makes sense to get vaccinated.”
Revere Fire Chief Chris Bright said it has been particularly tough on firefighters as they have to go to so many medical calls, and they live in close quarters together during shifts. Just last week, he said, they had 12 firefighters test positive. Getting the vaccine now and having the clinic organized is something he said was very meaningful.
“We’ll never forget this,” he said.
Police Sgt. Jose Otero said his main concern was for his family and setting an example for the community who might be hesitant to take the vaccine.
“First and foremost I wanted to protect myself and my family from any possible infection,” he said. “I don’t want to be the reason someone in my family gets sick. On top of that, I want to set the example for people to let them know this is a good thing and they can trust the vaccine. They’ve given it to the president and other staff. It’s going to be what helps us get through this and back to some sort of normal.”
He said he understand those who are hesitant, but he said he feels it’s up to the first wave of people to get vaccinated – like police – to set the example and do the research.
“There’s a lot of misinformation and false information,” he said. “They came out with it really quickly and a lot of people are saying they cut corners…I go with the science and the science says that so far, it’s good.”