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Firefighter deserves city's thanks

James Bethea is pictured with his wife, Brenda Bethea, at this family photo from his parents' 50th wedding anniversary.
James Bethea is pictured with his wife, Brenda Bethea, at this family photo from his parents' 50th wedding anniversary. (Cassidy Johnson, Baltimore Sun)

I want to acknowledge the life of a man who perished in the line of duty. I was not familiar with the man nor the name before this past week. Although I never met him, I am positive he possessed all the virtues of a man who tried to make a difference. For that, I believe he is more than deserving of posthumous recognition.

His name was Lt. James Bethea of the Baltimore City Fire Department. Lieutenant Bethea, a 40-year veteran of the department, died of fire-related injuries while doing his job as a safety inspector ("Baltimore firefighter found dead hours after responding to vacant house fire," Nov. 12). Sadly, there are too many times when we come to recognize the achievements of individuals only after they pass. I truly hope the department publicly honors this gentleman for what he did for the city and its residents.

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At times we read stories of Baltimore City police and fire department unrest, low morale and other problems, but folks like Mr. Bethea are stellar examples of the hard-working public servants of Baltimore who dedicate their lives in order to make ours better.

Godspeed, Lieutenant Bethea, you gave up your life in the line of duty, all the while striving to make a difference in our great city.

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Patrick R. Lynch, Nottingham

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