Heroism is something we don't hail often enough in society or on this opinion page.

Sometimes it takes a major local news story to remind us of the heroes who suit up each day to serve and protect the public.

Two such heroes emerged this week from a hail of gunfire, shattered glass and civilians shot at the Hobart Walmart — one of the most frequented retail stores in Northwest Indiana.

Off-duty Gary police officer Keon Parker was with his family in the checkout line of the popular store on U.S. 30 Sunday night when gunfire erupted near the west store entrance.

Parker secured his own family, first by having them duck between registers and then in a security closet.

Then he quickly went to work doing what first responders do. In a short window of time, Parker assessed the scene, disarmed and secured the gun of a civilian and suspected gang member who had returned fire in the matter and then provided first aid for one of the shooting victims.

Parker's expert multitasking of safety for both his family and others in the store are detailed in police reports and court records.

We all should salute Parker for his response in the face of personal and family peril.

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While Parker tended to a 25-year-old male gunshot victim inside the store, Hobart police Cpl. Kevin Garber Jr. pulled up on the scene with a score of other first responders.

In the parking lot, Garber found a 9-year-old boy bleeding from the chest — the son of the adult gunshot victim who was inside the store.

Garber immediately put the boy in a bear hug to calm him and applied direct pressure to the wound. Such pressure can make the difference between life and death for someone who is severely bleeding.

The 9-year-old boy remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday.

Garber spoke to Times reporter Sarah Reese about the incident Wednesday, noting that his past combat training from active service in Iraq kicked in.

He told Reese he was no hero — just one of many first responders who did their jobs that night in the wake of an apparent gang-related shooting.

Garber and Parker both deserve the title of hero for their actions at Walmart.

Our Region is lucky to be protected by such dedicated servants.



Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editor Marc Chase, Deputy Editor Kerry Erickson, Assistant Local News Editor Crista Zivanovic and Regional News Editor Sharon Ross.