A couple of months ago, Donna reached out to me and asked if she could send me her book to read. I always love finding new blue literature, so I was excited to be given a book I hadn’t heard much about yet. And then I read it, and I am even more grateful it was brought to my attention!
Behind and Beyond the Badge by Donna Brown is a collection of stories from various first responders-police officers, EMTs, dispatchers…anyone you can think of who is part of the village of first responders. Donna herself is a retired police sergeant (and was one of the first women on her department’s force, which is just so awesome!) and includes her own personal story in the first part of the book. One of the questions she asks of those included in the book is what their career-defining moment was.
And yall. These stories are powerful. POWERFUL. I need to be honest and say that some of these pages hold extremely heavy and hard to swallow stories. They were many times I read through teary eyes and skimmed the pages with baited breath. But that’s the power of these stories-they are so raw and real. As a LEOW I have an idea of what my officer’s day is like, but I don’t actually KNOW. We will never know what it’s like to be in these people’s shoes unless we are them, but Donna captures so well their feelings and experiences and most importantly the hearts that are behind their badges (or behind that 911 call, or behind that ambulance steering wheel).
I encourage all of you to read through these stories (with the knowledge that they’re not all light reading) and gain an even deeper appreciation for our first responders and how much they’ve dedicated to their communicates and to their departments. I also encourage you to share it with your friends or family who are not part of the first responder world. When I finished this book I felt similar to when I finished watching Fallen (you can read that review here)-that I want all of the people who complain about first responders and judge their decisions to read it and watch it. It’s those people, the one’s who are oblivious to the things our officers and first responders go through, that need to see their hearts and struggles and feelings the most.
A huge THANK YOU to all of our first responders who sacrifice so much and to Donna for helping share their powerful stories! You can find excerpts from Donna’s book on her website here or buy it on Amazon here.