First Responders Have Our Back, Now Let’s Have Theirs

First Responders Have Our Back, Now Let’s Have Theirs

Javier Manjarres
Javier Manjarres
February 23, 2024

By Chief Nelson Andreu

There are few communities you will find anywhere that are as selfless and committed to their mission as our first responders. I’ve worked alongside women and men on the police force who risk their lives daily, often running into danger to help keep our families safe. They have our backs, and they have each other’s backs. That’s why it’s incumbent upon all of us to do whatever we can to have their backs, too.

We are lucky to be represented by members of Congress here in Florida who understand our duty to ensure the first responder community is taken care of. As the wife of a firefighter, Representative Kat Cammack knows the dangers faced by first responders on a daily basis, as well as the struggles faced by families of first responders.

This past October, Rep. Cammack was part of a bipartisan coalition of members of Congress who introduced a resolution celebrating October 28th as Honoring the Nation’s First Responders Day. Additionally, Rep. Cammack has provided letters of support for federal grants that help firefighters and first responders like the Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and SAFER grant, which have been awarded to fire and rescue services in her district.

From firefighters to police officers like me, Rep. Cammack is an essential voice of support for our first responders in Congress. But standing up for those who sacrifice so much to protect us requires an all-hands-on-deck effort. That means we also need partners in the private sector who are willing to harness their innovation and creativity to help those in the line of duty.

Chief Nelson AndreuOne such effort we’ve seen to help first responders is the recent partnership between Philips and the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), firefighters experience an increased risk of both cancer diagnoses and cancer-related deaths.

With February being National Cancer Prevention Month, this partnership becomes all the more significant. We have all heard of the severe illnesses and deaths brought upon first responders, including police officers and firefighters, who placed themselves at great peril in the days and weeks following the horrendous events of 9-11 at the World Trade Center. Countless men and women risked their lives to save and rescue others following that horrific attack. How many might have been saved if they could have been tested by the programs being put forth by this partnership? While we will hopefully never experience another such vicious attack in our country, other dangerous and life threatening situations cannot be ruled out.

These two groups developed “Eddy” to provide lung screenings on wheels. Eddy, which stands for “Early Detection Driven to You,” can provide mobile lung cancer screenings using the latest version of Philips Incisive CT capabilities.

Eddy has allowed access to care to be made simple and convenient. This is the type of innovation that has the power to assist with early detection, provide screenings to individuals throughout our communities who otherwise wouldn’t have access, and even potentially save lives. Underserved urban, rural, and minority populations find themselves at a particularly high risk for mortality from lung cancer given the burdens they face with access to care.

In Buffalo, the Eddy has significantly increased the number of screenings being received by Buffalo’s firefighters. If we can replicate and scale this innovative technology into states like Florida, it can have an unprecedented impact for not only firefighters, but all of our first responders. Speaking from firsthand experience, I know how beneficial this type of technology would be for Florida’s police community.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what is possible when we harness the power of America’s private sector to help solve key problems. We need strong leaders like Rep. Cammack to help bring further investment into projects Eddy and many others that are at the forefront of providing essential care to those most in need.

As a law enforcement leader with over 40 years of police experience, I know there has been no stronger advocate for first responders than Rep. Cammack, and when we combine her unwavering support with the advancements from America’s private sector, we can sleep soundly at night knowing we’re doing our part to give back to those who have given everything to us.

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Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres

Javier Manjarres is a nationally renowned award-winning political journalist and Publisher of,,, and He enjoys traveling, playing soccer, mixed martial arts, weight-lifting, swimming, and biking. Javier is also a political consultant and has also authored "BROWN PEOPLE," which is a book about Hispanic Politics. Follow on Twitter: @JavManjarres Email him at

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