Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department acknowledges first responders at Ole Miss football game

Published 6:40 am Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Saturday, Oct. 28, marked the annual commemoration of National First Responders Day, a day dedicated to honoring the bravery and selfless service of firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, police, and other first responders across the nation. 

Various communities engaged in commemorative events and tributes, extending their gratitude and recognizing the pivotal role first responders play in maintaining safety and resilience.

The Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department acknowledged two first responders, Kayla Vaughn and Lee Durham, at the Ole Miss football game against Vanderbilt, where they and their families were present on the sidelines.

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In the midst of this celebratory event, Lee Durham, who has dedicated over a decade of service to the Sheriff’s Department, shared his perspective on the significance of this day. 

“Honestly, I believe most first responders would tell you that none of us do the job for recognition, status, or money. Our hearts are in it because we want to help people, and we have a ‘service before self’ mentality. Of course, everyone enjoys a pat on the back from time to time, so being recognized at an Ole Miss game, where I attended college, was a wonderful experience,” Durham said.

Durham’s insights into how public recognitions like this impact the perception and support of first responders in the community were equally insightful.

“I think it helps with bridging a gap and shows the public that the men and women behind the uniform are people just like them. I’m blessed to work at the Sheriff’s Department and in the LOU community. Everyone here is very supportive and openly appreciative of their first responders. We’ve got a great Sheriff (East), board of supervisors, and community.”

The day reflects on the heroic men and women who are the first to arrive at the scene of emergencies, often putting their lives at risk to save others. The commemoration also serves as a reminder of their unwavering response during catastrophic events like 9/11, highlighting the essence of prompt action and relentless service. 

National First Responders Day not only honors these everyday heroes but also aims to foster a supportive environment for them, emphasizing the importance of their contributions to the well-being of society.