Around this time 10 years ago, you were in weapons block. Doing qualifying rounds in ice and snow. You were a couple of months from graduating the academy. It had been a very rough time emotionally for all of us as we only got to see you a couple of days each week while you chased the dream that would become your passion, that would become an ever changing way of life.
As I sit and think about where we have come from since then, there are so many thoughts, so many memories, so many emotions, so may frustrations, so many joys. This has been a road met with challenges, some from without, a lot from within, but now as I consider all that has happened, I realize you can not come through any situation without going through the fire.
I don’t have to tell you the challenges law enforcement as a whole is currently going through. You live it everyday. We see it everyday. We worry about it everyday. And while I have the moments of not wanting you to give of yourself anymore due to the lack of appreciation and the hatred that seems to run out of control, it is only half of a coin. That half wants me to tell you to cut loose and get out. Why put your life at risk every single day? Why risk yourself for the possibility of the unthinkable? Why deal with the aggravation of being caught between and angry world and a broken system. Why do we have to continue to pay as a family? We sacrifice, we lose out, we are often on the back burner. ODMP is forever in front of our eyes, and all we can do is grieve with the rest of the thin blue line family. Good, honest cops pay with their lives and somehow they deserve it due to situations they were never involved with. I fear for you. I fear for us. I fear for our kids.
But then, there is the flip side of that coin. The side that screams honor, integrity, pride. The side that shows what you do is not in vain. The side that shows how you listen, hear and try to find resolution to our citizens situations. The side that when I see you in uniform, I know that our county is that much safer because you care and aim to protect and serve.
Do you know why you are my hero? It isn’t just because of the badge you wear. It isn’t because you helped protect those little girls by making sure the monster that hurt them will spend forever behind bars. It isn’t because you worked with a young lady and even though her life ended tragically, you don’t give up hope in spite of how it haunts you. It isn’t because you are standing for a little boy so viciously attacked by a dog and his parents seeing no legal resolution. It isn’t because you strive to offer the best training possible, or attend community events, or by going out of your way to talk with the kids of our communities or by double checking on our dispatchers to make sure everything is ok. It is because you are my heart, and in spite of all the times I haven’t come first, or a band concert or game or holiday was missed due to job, in your heart we are still first. It shows in your eyes, it is felt in your hug, it is confirmed in the words you speak to our boys. You are my hero because you stand for what is right and you don’t back down from it. You stand for what is lawful and you enforce it. You give me your love so freely and unconditionally. That even when you are so tired and sore and just want to crash, you give of yourself and let us know that we make everything OK for you.
We are 8 months away from 25 years of marriage. You became my hero at “I Do.”