The names are Robert Stanton and Andy Hayes.
They are household names mostly in their households, and perhaps some others among family and friends. They are not well-known heroes, even though they quietly do heroic things.
Most recently, they were two of the 13-member Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team that traveled to the Carolinas in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Florence slamming into and then plodding across those two states.
The destruction that began two weeks ago continues today with parts of North Carolina facing today flooding that is as dangerous, if not more so, than during the worst of Florence.
Stanton, as a technical rescue team chief, is a part-time employee of the Harford County Department of Emergency Services. Hayes, a Jarrettsville resident, works for the Baltimore County Fire Department.
The Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team is a dangerous job, a dangerous task and a dangerous calling, yet both men went head long into the danger.
That’s such a Harford County thing.
Mike Berna, a team program manager, put it simply when he recently said the Maryland Helicopter Aquatic Rescue Team is “one of the highest risk things you can do.”
“We talk about this all the time – disaster can strike anyone, anywhere, any time,” Cindy Mumby, spokeswoman for the Harford County government, said when it was reported two from Harford headed to the Carolinas. “We prepare here locally, but sometimes we are so overwhelmed, we wouldn’t meet our needs with just our local resources. We are helping our fellow American as we would hope they would help us if the situation were reversed.”
Time and again, Harford County people run toward harm’s way simply to help others. That, more than anything, defines Harford County. Whether it’s volunteering to coach youth sports or to serve on a vital government commission or to run into burning buildings to fight fires, the fabric of Harford County’s heritage is to serve and to help others.
We thank Hayes and Stanton for their service to our fellow Americans struggling to overcome what Florence wrought, as we do often with everyone who serves.