Since 1882, Labor Day has marked the beginning of September. It is a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of the country. The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated in New York City on Tuesday, September 15, 1882 by the Central Labor Union. In 1894, following the example of 31 states, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year Labor Day in the District of Columbia and the territories.
Among those recognized today are firefighters, emergency medical technicians, police, and other first responders. Many are working emergencies and disasters as you read this. They may be responding to small-scale emergencies or large-scale disasters such as the ongoing fires in Texas or Tropical Storm/Depression Lee and Hurricane Katia. FEMA and sister agencies have had a busy 2011 so far. According to a September 4 AP story, “So far in 2011, the U.S. has had a record 10 weather catastrophes costing more than a billion dollars [each]; five separate tornado outbreaks, two different major river floods, a drought, a blizzard and a hurricane.” Not to mention an earthquake or two, drought and fire.
While Extension and EDEN delegates are not first responders in the sense that firefighters, police and EMTs are, we are there in the aftermath of disaster, working to provide needed education and information to the disaster victims. For some great examples, check out the EDEN website’s topic pages on tornado, wildfire, hurricane, and tsunami. Before disaster strikes, EDEN delegates are incorporating disaster preparedness and mitigation messages in their everyday education work.
Thank you to those who have provided disaster victims with timely information and education; to those who have responded to requests from colleagues for specific information; and thanks to everyone who provides disaster education in times of calm.
Give yourself a pat on the back — and keep up the good work!