What an honor to hear from Megan Conway of KLKN-TV Channel 8 on February 2 as we were introduced to the special project for Lincoln South Rotary this year - "Making 2018 the Year to say Thank You!”.
KLKN-TV is partnering with Lincoln South Rotary to honor our first responders. Lincoln South Rotary Club is arranging an event on October 4. But, leading up to the event KLKN-TV will have monthly segments that highlight the stories of first responders in Lincoln. Watch for those segments the first Thursday of every month leading up to the Tribute to First Responders luncheon.
We learned about Megan and her passions - including the stories about first responders that she has met. The media is responsible for reporting the events, but Megan's segments will show the other side of the story - the people and faces that are the first responders.
Megan grew up in Indianola, Nebraska, loves "all things outdoors" such as hunting and fishing. When she grew up she wanted nothing more than to be a Husker. She found her major after enrolling at UNL where she was introduced to many aspects of life through the variety of courses they provided. 
Suzanne Tyrrell, Lincoln South Rotary Club President 2018-19 provided the background for our tribute event:
Lincoln South Rotary
Tribute to Lincoln’s First Responders
Why This Is Important
Last Summer, while watching the news during those horrific California wildfires, a picture came on the screen of a firefighter overcome by heat being laid down on the curb in front of the house they were trying to save.  As his buddy pulled off the firefighter’s boots, smoke came pouring out of the boots and the bottom of his pants.  It was such a graphic illustration of what these people go through for all of us.
Many of us have family, friends, or acquaintances who are police officers.  We know how repeatedly they put their lives on the line in undercover work, in narcotics investigations, and in regular police work -- and some of them get injured in the line of duty.  We also know how they go above and beyond, even spending their off-duty time working on cases or working with at-risk populations.  They do it with passion, with heart, and with soul!
In the fall of 2017, during that terrible hurricane season, we saw our Lincoln Team of First Responders get called up to go to Houston to help them with the awful damages from Hurricane Harvey.  The team returned home for just a few days and were then sent to Florida to help with the tremendous damages from Hurricane Irma.  And then shortly after that, a leadership team was sent to Puerto Rico to help them prepare for the awful Hurricane Maria which was bearing down upon them.  It is important for us to remember that when our first responders are deployed somewhere, it places an extra burden on their own families and also on those first responders who are still here protecting us.
Many of us have personal experiences with being broken into and robbed … or maybe it was a medical emergency of a family member … or maybe it was a fire or a horrific explosion in our own neighborhood!  The people who help us in times of our own panic are there quickly, they are well-trained and knowledgeable, they are kind and reassuring, and they are respectful to those who need their help.
The year 2017 was a year of many national disasters where we saw first responders in action -- wildfires in California; those three massive hurricanes --Harvey, Irma, and Maria; a massive shooting in Las Vegas; and locally, a house explosion that rocked a neighborhood.  That names just a few.  The year 2018 seems to be off to a wild start as well.  There were more terrible wildfires in California.  Then massive mud slides after torrential downpours burying homes, cars, and people!  Also in January there were blizzards and ice storms all over the country, including areas that do not have equipment to handle this type of weather, and first responders who had to struggle to get to those in need.
Nationally, in the first 10 days of 2018, we lost 4 police officers and 2 fire fighters while doing their jobs to protect us.  As of the beginning of February, that number increased to 8 police officers and 5 fire fighters lost!
It is hard to adequately know how to thank these people -- a simple “thank you” does not seem to be enough, but sometimes it is all we can offer.  Our upcoming tribute is a small step to show them more tangibly what they mean to us.  No words can adequately express what these people do for us each and every day, putting their lives on the line to help us, to save us, and to protect our property.
Join Lincoln South Rotary and our local KLKN-TV ABC Channel 8 as we together make this a year to say THANK YOU!  Join us on October 4, 2018, at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel, 333 S. 13th Street, Lincoln, NE   from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. for a luncheon to show our gratitude to Lincoln’s first responders.  Individual tickets are $50 each, table sponsorships for $690.  For further information, questions, or to make reservations, contact Chandler Tyrrell, chantyrrell2@gmail.com.