This upcoming Veterans Day holiday is likely to be filled with festivities and celebrating those that have served in the military and honoring those that died in the line of duty.
However, one local veteran is looking out for more than his fellow brothers and sisters-in-arms this year. Edward “Ed” Jenkins is asking locals to extend their gratitude not just to those who have served in the military, but to first responders as well.
Jenkins, a preacher and Vietnam War veteran, said he will be among those doing that this is holiday.
Jenkins served twice in Vietnam and earned two Purple Hearts and one Silver Star for his service. Jenkins, however, says that the support that veterans receive when they return home from service is much more important than any glory or accommodations they earn on the battlefield.
“We support all our veterans, but you can't support veterans without supporting first responders because a lot of veterans are in such bad shape that sometimes they [the veterans] have to have first responders.”
Jenkins knows first hand the benefit that Tallapoosa County law enforcement, firefighters and medical first responders provide. According to Jenkins, they recently saved his life.
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“I would have died without them. I have personal experience. I really want to emphasize their service because they did such a good job, including our police department, our ambulance service and our fire and rescue,” he said.
According to Jenkins, law enforcement, first responders and veterans are often intertwined as veterans often aid those groups during emergencies.
“A vet is a vet, the American Legion, the DAV (the Disabled American Veterans), and the [214th Military Police Company] are vital assets to this community. Our local unit 214 works closely with law enforcement and they also help in times of disasters.”
Jenkins is also a member of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Bill Nichols chapter and has dedicated his life since returning from combat to assisting his fellow veterans with everything from securing employment to aiding them with their physical and mental health.
However, this Veterans Day, he encourages the public to salute everyone in a uniform that makes Alexander City and Tallapoosa County safe.