A recent Facebook post by St. Johns County Fire Rescue shows first responders going beyond the call of duty to carefully care for a damaged flag.
“Our goal is just to show it the respect that we think it deserves," said St. Johns County Fire Rescue Lt. Lucas Smith.
Smith said his crew at Fire Station 6 received a call from a firefighter at a different station Saturday morning. The firefighter on the phone requested assistance retrieving a flag that had become tangled on the eagle atop the flagpole.
“He said that they were contacted by the VFW," Smith said. “And there’s a lot of veterans that live in this facility.”
So Ladder 6 loaded up and rolled out, ready to tackle the task from above.
Photos of the mission were later posted on Facebook.
"And then we folded the flag, returned it to the property manager and they turned it over to the VFW to be taken care of, essentially," Smith said.
Why go the extra mile? Why take the extra time to fold the flag?
“We have a lot of veterans within our department," Smith said. "Both of my grandparents were veterans of WWII as well as all the veterans that stay at that facility. If they wanted the flag taken care of properly we were gonna make sure that that happened.”
Smith said firefighters also have a special connection with the flag. It adorns the gear they wear every time they run into flames. It's also a reminder of those who came before, wearing the same stars and stripes.
“I was in the tenth grade for second period when 9/11 happened," he said. “I know that all 343 firemen that died that way were actually wearing the flag on their shoulder, as well as our one line of duty death here as a department.”