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First responders are brave men and women who are known for dedicating their lives to serving others, working 24-hour shifts and responding to many different calls a day in their communities. To show their appreciation, Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson decided hosted a first responder appreciation. This initiative was especially important to Berta Gilbert, resident of Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson, and her husband Dalton Gilbert. Dalton is a retired police officer of 34 years, and his wife spent 15 years as a deputy sheriff in Tarrant County. Prior to joining law enforcement, Dalton, an Air Force Veteran, spent time working in a factory never thinking he would become a police officer one day. Today, he and his wife of nearly 52 years looked forward to welcoming the local police officers and firefighters at the senior living community during this meaningful appreciation event.

“I genuinely feel that you need to have a special calling to be a first responder,” said Dalton. “Everyone goes through training when joining the fire or police department, and I believe that is the time many find out if the position is a good fit for them. It is a wonderful job to have, but it comes with great sacrifices. Not everyone is prepared for the dedication it truly takes. It’s never been a safe job either, but serving the community and knowing you are protecting people is the best reward.”

Dalton comes to visit his wife at Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson nearly every day. The couple has two children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. One son continued their legacy and is a retired firefighter of nearly 34 years.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the estimated number of firefighters working in the U.S. is over one million. Of that number, a little over 30 percent are career firefighters and about 70 percent are volunteers. There are more than 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers now serving in the United States and about 12 percent of those are female. There were over 150 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in 2018. Knowing how dangerous these professions are, Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson decided to take the time to acknowledge these brave men and women for their lifesaving actions.

“Emergency responders risk their lives for other citizens and are a critical part of any community,” said Melissa Meyer, executive director of Mustang Creek Estates of Burleson. “We are thankful for everyone one of them, including Berta and Dalton.  We wanted to go the extra mile for these courageous men and women who put themselves in harm’s way to keep our neighborhood safe. Our residents enjoyed meeting their neighborhood heroes and hearing some of the stories they can share about their job.”

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