Tuesday, April 17, 2007

True heros

Last night in conjunction with the graduation ceremony for the Citizen Police Academy, the Lincoln Police Department bestowed awards on ten officers and seven citizens. It's one of four awards ceremonies we conduct annually. This was a big one, where we honored the officer of the year, Steve Niemeyer, along with several others for excellent performance and life saving interventions.

It's always a button-popping experience for me, but there was also a rather poignant moment in light of the shootings yesterday at Virginia Tech. Two citizens, Ed Rypkema and Larry Parker, received special awards for confronting assailants who represented serious and immediate threats to Lincoln students within the past few months.

Last November 10th, Larry, the Lincoln High athletic director, diverted the attention of a man who arrived at a high school volleyball tournament game brandishing a knife with the stated intention of killing his girlfriend. He put a bear hug on the subject, restraining him until security staff and police officers could arrive.

Ed, a Lincoln Public Schools bus driver, confronted a suspect armed with a knife who was attempting to board an elementary school bus on February 9th. He disarmed the intruder, pushed him from the steps of the bus, and protected the children. These men both acted instantly, without regard for their own safety.

Ed had his whole family at the ceremony--his wife, two daughters, their husbands, and four gorgeous grandkids. I stopped and chatted with them, and asked the children if they all knew that their grandpa was a hero. Of course, they did.

I imagine they knew that way before this incident ever happened.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Serious and immediate threats to Lincoln students are represented by the high number of drunk drivers that are on the road at any given time. The fact that a man had a knife and was delusional and thinking that people were out to get him hardly matches up to the level of danger a drunk driver poses. If former congressman Mark Foley is one of them then my suspicion dont stop there.