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With Wake & District now having six years of experience behind us, we have grown into what could be considered the adolescent years. No longer the infant, trying to steady ourselves as we learned to stand, then walk and finally move forward, we now stand strong and sure. We are in the prime of our youth, a time when feet are planted squarely. It brings with it a feeling of confidence and of triumph. It is a wonderful place to be.

We have recently welcomed several new prospects and members to our group – and we are always meeting new friends and making new fans. From time to time – friends, fans and other musicians pose the question, “What makes your band so different?” To be able to answer this question, one need only understand our mindset; we are a group of like-minded people, whose strength comes from this singular mindset. What is it? Simply this…we answer the call.

Wake & District was founded on the backbone of public safety officers (Police, Fire and Emergency Medical officers); what some would call “the best of us.” The reasons for forming the band were distinct; to bring to the Raleigh Durham area one of the most hallowed traditions of public safety, to have a great time and most importantly – to give honor and respect to those who most deserve it; our brothers and sisters who have freely offered themselves to our Maker through their own sacrifices so others may live on.

Some find it amazing these men and women give of themselves in service to perfect strangers. We in public safety say there are no strangers. From the largest mansion, to the most primitive shanty underneath a dank, cold bridge – people are people. The only things which separate people from one another are opportunities and choices.

Everyone can identify with everyone else in this world in some small way. The biggest distinction we place between the people we respond to is there is no distinction. They are all sons and daughters, sisters and brothers.

To be a part of Wake & District – whether civilian or sworn
is to answer the call.

Our members come to us with an open mind and open heart. We believe there is pride in service while at the same time embracing the humility which only comes through maturity and the understanding of what it is to truly serve others. This is the litmus test for our group.  While everyone doesn’t come in the door this way, the potential for change and growth can be seen just as easily. Simply put – they must hunger for it…and stay hungry.

In many ways, Wake & District mirrors the values seen in public safety. We are selective. Not everyone has the ability, or answers the call to become police officers, firefighters, paramedics or soldiers. Likewise, everyone is not cut out to serve the public through an outlet such as ours. Just as it is in the arena of public safety, there are no individuals. There is no room for the single-minded opportunist. While they are most certainly out there, they are merely tolerated and their true intentions are easily seen. Above all else, when serving – one must understand  they are no longer an individual. They are a part of something much bigger. They are now among the members of a humble calling. They are now part of a team which at some point could hold your life in their hands, just as you could someday hold theirs. It is a consciousness which always includes the team. When you think of yourself, you automatically think of your team members. It is beyond a brotherhood. It is a family.

One should also understand ours is a group focused on the mission. We achieve the mission through commitment. This is not a social club. It is not a drinking club. It is a pipe and drum band who honors the fallen like no other. It requires dedication to practice, determination to remain consistent, and sacrifice when faced with doing the right thing for the right reasons.

If you are a piper or drummer interested in this group, understand we are committed to our mission– as it defines who we are. This isn’t about you or I. This is about accomplishing the mission.

We play to the center of the group, meaning the great players reach back to help the learned players, and the learned players strive to become great. The best part of it all is we have a great time doing it. It is just plain fun. The energy put forth by a group of like-minded players is positive and uplifting. We have played in some great locales and are honored by the attention being given to the group while simply on the road to fulfill a mission.

So, as for the question asked at the beginning…what makes your group so different? To understand the answer is to understand the values of public safety. Duty, Honor, Courage, Sacrifice. Our band members have this understanding in common. We welcome the challenges which come with abiding by these values. We welcome anyone – public safety or civilian – who understands these values; for in understanding them you understand us.

– Lloyd Johnson

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