MOBILE — First responders in Mobile County were honored by the Azalea City Republican Women (ACRW) Thursday evening.

The Salute to First Responders was held at the Heron Lakes Country Club.

Among notable guests were Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine, Mobile County Sheriff Paul Burch and Men United Against Violence founder Sgt. John Young.

ACRW president Marilyn Kearney said it was important for the group to celebrate those on the front lines protecting citizens.

“We are extremely honored to have you here with us tonight,” said Kearney. “And to allow us the opportunity to thank you in a tangible way and the best way that we know how.”

Several speakers took the mic at the event, including City Council member Ben Reynolds, who read a proclamation by the City of Mobile declaring October 12 as First Responders Day.

Burch and Prine also took the stage, thanking the ACRW for their support.

“Police officers, state troopers, deputy sheriffs, fire and rescue personnel all have uniquely different duties,” said Burch. However, we’re all dedicated to protect and serve our community. We are here to do that. First responders face unknown dangers with every call for service, whether we’re dealing with an armed adversary or entering a burning building to save a life. First responders in our community do so without hesitation.”

Prine said there has always been a rift between police and firefighters, but it is always a running joke and nothing more. He said he knows from personal experience how close the relationship between the two truly is.

“This month, October 21, 2001, I personally was shot in the line of duty over on St. Stephens Road, working for the city of Mobile,” Prine said. “And if it were not for the rescue and fire department and certainly the nurses at University Hospital, I wouldn’t be here today. So, with that said, please acknowledge them and give them a hand. To all the first responders, thank you. Your dedication does not go unnoticed.”

Chief Paul Prine Alabama News
Mobile Police Chief Paul Prine.Photo: Erica Thomas.

Prine also thanked those who are not first responders but support them.

Mobile County EMS executive director Mark Turner took the opportunity to recognize three employees who helped save a man from a burning home.

EMS Alabama News
Mobile County EMS Executive Director recognizes three employees with helping save a man's life. Photo: Erica Thomas.

After playing the 911 call and dispatch communications of the incident, Turner awarded the employees involved in saving the man’s life.

Young, who has been vocal about issues he has identified among men in Mobile, ended the program with powerful words about how all men should step up and protect the community.

“A man’s a man,” said Young. “It is up to us, the men of Mobile, to take back our city. If we’re 23% down on crime, we need to be 23% down more.

Sgt. John Young Alabama News
Sgt. John Young speaks about the importance of strong men in a community. Photo: Erica Thomas.

ACRW was founded in 1974 and is the oldest Republican women’s group in the county.

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