August 5, 1985, I walked into a life changing vocation. With only a couple of hours of sleep (due to a late ‘oh we forgot to tell you have been hired’ call and a long drive) but I made the start time.
Today, I was on the other side of the seat that I sat in for 16 weeks. I was presenting, what I hope to be,valuable information to those I work with every day.
My original thought was to be here about 3 years and then move on to another vocation. My plans quickly changed because of the people I met and the family that I created. I had no idea that I would hold a job with so many diverse people who had a common goal, to make this community a better place to live.
I was one greenhorn. Discovering experiences that no man or woman ought to experience at times. I picked up things I thought I could never touch. I have seen things that I thought I would only see in the movies. I have smelled things that no person ought to have smelled (and I still have trouble smelling that odor). I have watched mothers cry at the loss of their sons. I have watched a man’s life disappear as he sat staring at us and if we did something, we would have been the reason for his demise as opposed to his ending act.
I have watched life disappear in an instant, I have told people how that happened. I have been there when a life entered the world before the parents could get to the hospital (that kid just didn’t want to wait).
I have been there when personal friends have had tragic things happen. I have been there when personal friends have had something wonderful happen. I have been apart of many peoples lives who I have left an impression (good and bad).
People ask, “Do you like your job?” I can say that I have always loved my job, even when people we deal with are not the brightest crayons in the box.
I can say that the reason why I like my job is because of the people that I work with. So many of them will give you their shirt (or money) if you needed it, no questions asked. When they say they have your back, they mean, they have it!
I have worked with a supervisor who once again is my boss. He has taught me many things over the years. One of the major things he taught was dedication to the community and to one another. I can’t thank him enough for not only being my sergeant, but now the boss. Another one in the corner office was willing to help me along and made a great impression on me. I have been inspired by another one in the corner office who was present, dedicated and although wasn’t happy with me at times, and still disagrees with me often, but I respect him 100% (kinda good that he is retired now, but he has a great CEO job). It is that leadership that has inspired me and makes me want to perform to the best of my ability every single day.
The people I have worked with have made me laugh. We have cried together. We have stood in hospital rooms together. We have stood over many graves to honor a brother or sister.
The people I have worked with have stood with me in amazement at how many of these events we experienced unfolded. You would think that we are making it all up, but we did see it, we did experience it, we….SURVIVED IT.
People always ask on anniversary dates, “Would you do it all over again?” I might, but it definitely would be done with a slight twist.
I see news reports about my profession and wonder if they really know and understand what it takes to do what we do. They criticize ever act we perform, yet they are so ignorant of the major questions they should be asking (What, When, Where, Why and How). As a result, their ignorance leads other people to learn a story rather than the truth. Mostly driven because they want to be the first to report rather than having an accurate story (as my father has taught me my entire life, and still teaches me today).
And as I sit and reflect on my 32 years, I learned that my youngest child begins a new venture at the University of Tulsa. I learned that on my vocational anniversary date, what an awesome thing.
I am proud of the young ladies in my life. Four are mine and another one has learned to give me a hard time. I have had many more children who call me Dad, and I am totally honored by their love. Everyone of them, biological or not are wonderful and bring me great joy. Now though I am getting to the age that some of them are calling me Great Papa as they have their own children. I am truly blessed by everyone of them.
As I sat in reflection, some really close friends (who are co-workers) entertained me with their wit and wisdom. No one really understands our bond or our humor. These are the types of friends that you would help in an instant no matter what time it is.
Because of all this, if you see me and say, “It’s good to see you.” You will always get a response, “It’s good to be seen!”
I have viewed enough in my life and with the current light of media attention and misdirection, I am not happy when I view those who do what I do. You may or may not understand that, that is okay.
But know this….the people who protect the sheep, do it not for their own glory, but for another higher reason. They stand in the darkness when others are scared to do so….They run to the problem, when others are afraid to….They make a difference daily, though you may never see it……Some will tell you that they did something special…..many more will shrug their shoulders and say its really nothing (when they know it is really big) and push the media away to avoid a spotlight…..
On both side of the radio, there are dedicated people who create an atmosphere of tranquility that many don’t see. It is, those on each side of the radio that have given me a reason to be seasoned, grumpy, refreshed, loved, liked, hated and admired by the unknowing……but truly dedicated to what we all (as a collective group) do at keeping the peace.
God Bless and thank you for the time you have given me, the friendships we hold on the thin blue line, the thin red line, the thin gold line, the thin white line, the thin green line, the thin silver line.
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