Safety Doesn’t Take A Holiday

The constant fear that comes with the everyday job of keeping people safe.

Sarah Smith

More stories from Sarah Smith


Being a member of the military, a police officer or a firefighter comes with many hardships that have large impacts on one’s life. These jobs can take a negative toll on both the person in the force and their families. Be it going through a lot of physical pain due to constant workouts and emergency calls or emotional pain because of everyday worries about safety, a police officer, firefighter or member of the military goes through hard times while working at their jobs.

Many families are faced with obstacles and challenges that they need to overcome when a relative is serving in the military or another, domestic, force. A family member may worry about and fear an injury or loss of a loved one while they are on duty.

Junior Kacey Meltzer has immediate family members in multiple job departments including paramedic, emergency medical technician, firefighter, chief and correctional officer. Having many family members in many different departments of services makes a difference in the everyday lifestyle of Meltzer. She has developed a love for firefighting and is a cadet for the fire department. Being a cadet has taught her ways of mental toughness and has challenged her mentally and physically.

“I always worry about my family when they go to work because each of them are putting their lives on the line when they step in the door of their job,” Meltzer said. “My main concern is their safety. I know that each of them take their job very seriously; however, there is always a fear in the back of my mind that one of them will not come home one day.”

As part of the fire department, Meltzer has a good understanding of the job and every aspect of it, but for someone who is less involved, it may be much more frightening not knowing what their loved ones are walking into when they go to work.

Junior Teryn Jones’ father is a firefighter, but she has no interest in pursuing this career herself. Jones’ views of the job differ from those of Meltzer, as their lives are effected differently by the job.

“I wish that their safety wouldn’t be put at risk as much,” Jones said. “I do not have an interest in [this career], people may lash out and blame you and may hurt you, so that doesn’t really interest me.”

There is still the fear that something may happen to her father because Jones’ different understandings and thoughts of these careers cause her to worry about him in a different way than Meltzer.

From an opposing view, while on the job as a police officer, one can worry about their family.

Sergeant Michael Katzenstein of the Vernon Hills Police Department has a lot of experience on the job but also has constant thoughts about his family and their safety while on the job.

“We always worry about safety, but we rely on each other and our training to get through any situation we encounter,” Katzenstein said. “My biggest concern while working is that my family is always good and safe. If they are good, I am good.”

On both sides of the situation, whether one is an officer or a relative, many emotional difficulties are faced and can be overcome with more knowledge of the job and all that comes with it. Being a family member of a worker in the armed forces takes a lot of courage, selflessness, pride and sacrifice. Members of the armed forces often put their lives on the line and need as much support as they can get from their families, no matter the difficulty of handling the situation.