This is my family...aside from Jerry, my step-kids and grandkids, and the dogs, of course. My brother and I are the only one's left of our immediate family. My brother is on the left, his son Cohlman "Norm" is the new police officer at St. Paul, MN; his younger brother Clayton is the actor who is Hollywood bound and my sister-in-law Barb. They are as precious to me as anyone in my world and it was with great delight that we were able to spend a couple of days with them celebrating a life-long dream of Cohlman to become a policeman for St. Paul. We attended the preschool graduation of these boys and traveled back when they graduated from High School, too. But this event was special as it marked a dream come true.
Not having children of my own (though I have two great step-kids) these two boys hold a special place in our lives. It was great to be with them both and my brother and sister-in-law too.
The police band kept us entertained while we waited for the grand entrance with the 24 cadets in their blues and white gloves. The mayor spoke; the chief of police told them they'd been budgeted for so they all had jobs; their academy director spoke of her pride in their work and their efforts. Each speaker emphasized that police work wasn't about power and authority but about protection and partnerships. I like that. Then each was pinned with their new badge and several cadets received their badges from family members who were also police officers either in St. Paul or other places.
The class president also spoke and he gave a sobering number for us to consider: 113 police officer have died this year alone in the line of duty. I am so grateful there are people out there willing to serve as officers, reserves, search and rescue, Canine teams and more, the office staff and the families who send these men and women out trusting that they've been well-trained and will come home safely. But that number is astonishing and it says something about the risks people take on behalf of all of us.
I told my nephew that I would pray daily for his safety and that I expected to come to his 25 year retirement party. I'll be 90 then but hey, what better way to spend one's older years than celebrating the lives of those we love.
When you see a police officer wherever you may be (if he's not giving you his signature on a ticket...) thank them for their service, for being there. And if you happen to be in St. Paul, tip your hat to my nephew for me, will you? Thanks.