In the last week or so, I’ve spent a fair amount of time working with the Denison fire department. The agency recently said goodbye to 28-year veteran Kelley Copley, who retired, and welcomed Hanna Lindemuth, who will serve as the department’s first female firefighter in its 141-year history.

As a writer and reporter, juxtapositions always seem to catch my eye. In the case of Copley and Lindemuth, I love that I got to interview both a longtime employee looking toward the next chapter of his life and a newcomer, just beginning what could be a long and promising career. But this time around, it wasn’t their differences that peaked my interest, but rather what they had in common — a drive to help others.

When I spoke to Copley, I wanted to understand what it was that kept him in fire service for a combined 35 years. Copley said it was the chance to save another person’s life and give them a second chance.

Copley said the most rewarding moments of his career began when he saved the victims of a fire, a wreck or an accident and ended when those very people approached him years later to say thank you and share the details of their lives.

Lindemuth said she decided to become a firefighter and paramedic after tragedy befell her family. She explained that her father was fatally injured in a motorcycle wreck several years ago and it was the work of the paramedics who treated him that inspired her to enter the field.

And though Lindemuth said she didn’t set out to be the department’s first female firefighter or prove herself to anyone else, she hoped her accomplishment would inspire other young women and show them that they too could achieve their goals.

I’m a firm believer that it takes a special kind of person to be a first responder. These are the folks who run toward danger and put it all on the line so that others can be safe. And with public servants like Lindemuth and Copley in our communities, I think we can all feel like we’ve got someone in our corner.

Happy birthday Sunday to Ann Pierce and Rosa Brownlow, both of Sherman; and Koby Brownlow of Austin.

Happy birthday Monday to Charlotte Holloway, Janet Miles, Joyce Manning, Elijah Jordan, Linda Rockins and Brenda Johnson, all of Sherman; Gail Wimberly and Sherry Harris both of Denison; Susann Mayo of Howe; Jenna Armstrong, Gail Wimberly and Sherry Harris, all of Denton.

Happy anniversary Monday to Aubrey and Gayla Henderson of Sherman, 50 years.