Greensboro, NC -- There are certain sacrifices employees make to keep their jobs. For example: work overtime, take a pay cut, or work a bad shift.
But, none of those come close to putting your life on the line.
And that is what first responders do each day they suit up for work.
In North Carolina, 524 police officers have lost their lives in the line of duty, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, Inc.
In the next week, those officers will all be remembered as heroes.
Michael Winslow was one of them.
He was only 21-years-old when he was sworn in as a Greensboro police officer but he died just four months later in a car accident while responding to a call.
His father says in spite of the tragedy, his son lived a full life.
"Your life is not measured by your years. It's measured by what you do. And he had a full life; a very full life," Robert Winslow explained Wednesday afternoon in his home.
Time has grown kinder to Mr. and Mrs. Winslow since their son died in June 1978; largely because the couple believes Officer Winslow left them a legacy to hold on to.
"I'm very proud of him," the fallen officer's father said. "He did what he wanted to do [...] he enjoyed it and loved it."
Winslow is the youngest of the 10 Greensboro police officers who have died on the job.
Even before he was a sworn officer, he was doing police work.
"He was too young to be sworn in and [so] in the meantime, he went into undercover with the drug department," said Robert.
According to a letter from the Narcotics Division in the Greensboro Police Department's investigative bureau, at 19-years-old Winslow worked undercover in a local high school; within months he helped with 15 indictments involving 50 drug charges and four arrests for illegal alcohol sale.
"It's important to all of us and it's important to our community that we know that somebody was willing to make a sacrifice to make their community safer,' said Deputy Chief Dwight Crotts who heads the investigative bureau at the Greensboro Police Department.
To keep his memory alive, the most outstanding new officer gets an award in Winslow's name. It has happened for every graduating class of the Greensboro Police Academy since his death.
"I feel honored. It just shows a lot that your classmates believe you have strong character," said Kenneth Wilson, an officer who received the award in 2011.
Officer Winslow along with the 523 other fallen officers in North Carolina will be remembered in different ceremonies across the state next week.
There was a state memorial service held Tuesday in Fayetteville.
The upcoming local events are free and open to the public.
Check with your police department to find out where and when. Some departments, like Greensboro, will hold joint services with other agencies in the county.
The joint Guilford County event will be at 10 a.m. on Tuesday on the governmental plaza.