As I reflected on my submission for the Local Heroes special section, I first turned to the definition of a “hero” — a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.
Through the course of my lifetime, I have witnessed many acts of courage and valor performed by fellow Marines, fellow public safety officers and citizens.
While public safety professionals run toward danger as opposed to backing away from it, one common bond everyone can share with those we define as heroes is the willingness to do something above and beyond what is required on behalf of a fellow human being. The act of a child standing up for another child who is being bullied, a block watch member standing up to suspected criminals — these types of actions take place in our community, most times with no recognition.
We have community members who volunteer to mentor, to coach and to provide myriad volunteer efforts such as Mobile Meals of Toledo. Recently our community faced a do not consume order for water; there was no panic, no acts of violence. Instead, people volunteered to help distribute water while others showed up to donate.
To quote one of our deputy chiefs, “They were like angels; right when it looked as if we were running out of water, a vehicle would appear with donated water to distribute.” The world was watching our community and they saw the essence of Toledo — a city of compassion that faced those days with courage and resilience that is deserving of recognition.
I offer my congratulations to those named in the Local Heroes section, but I would also like to offer my congratulations and admiration to the citizens of Toledo. Residents, businesses and employees of the City of Toledo endured one of the worst winters in our history as well as the recent water issue with a spirit of brotherly concern. Every day it is demonstrated why the motto “You will do better in Toledo” is just as true today as when it was first created decades ago.
I applaud you and I thank you — it is an honor and a privilege to serve as your mayor.
D. Michael Collins was elected mayor of Toledo in 2013. He was appointed to the Toledo Police Department and served for 27 years, including his last 10 years as the elected president of the Toledo Police Patrolman’s Association. Throughout his career, he received numerous letters of recognition for excellence in police service, and in 1997 was awarded the Professional Service Award by the Toledo Police Department. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.