That makes the death of Cumbria Police Constable Bill Barker so especially poignant, swept away to his death while helping motorists from a doomed bridge in Workington.
The scenes of devastation in Cumbria have been quite shocking but most possessions, however precious, can be replaced. Life can't. PC Barker's family can only take comfort from the fact that he was helping others when he lost his life.
Local Hero? National hero.