This time of year we should all pause to give thanks, and perhaps say a prayer, for the many dedicated storm spotters and emergency responders who lay their lives on the line in the threatening weather of spring and summer in the Midwest.
From thunderstorms, floods, high winds, hail and lightning, to surprise spring blizzards and deadly tornadoes, these courageous men and women when summoned hurriedly man their "battle stations" to do their best to serve as vital cogs in the wheel of communication involved when threatening weather strikes.
In addition to the spotters, our emergency medical responders, firefighters and law enforcement officers also are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week in the advent of severe weather.
Thanks to improving technology, radio and television weather forecasters are better able to spot and track severe weather patterns and usually give their listeners sufficient time to react and seek safe cover. Other times they swing and miss in gross embarrassment to their craft.
However, in real volatile conditions that form and strike fast with little or no warning, often there is no time, or precious little, for proper warnings to be aired.
This is when our spotters and emergency personnel are at their best, rushing to their appointed stations and relaying the invaluable information they glean through the proper channels with only one thing in mind - to help save lives.
In the aftermath of a damaging storm, after the emergency responders have completed their yeoman tasks, more heroes emerge - the friends and neighbors who show up with vehicles, chain saws, shovels, pumps, skidloaders, tractors and other equipment to roll up their sleeves and help the needy in the often massive clean-up.
In the face of the storm season upon us, it is comforting to know all these incredible people exist and just how proud we are to live among them.