Thursday, October 11, 2007

and some inspiration

Last week, I was giving Sam Hicks a quick tour as his day of job shadowing was getting underway. We visited the Forensic Uni--LPD's lab, where fingerprints are classified, shell casings matched, documents examined, handwriting analyzed, and so forth. The entire full time staff of five was hard at work, but they were joined by two unpaid volunteers.

One was Ole Buck. Ole is a retired employee, who worked for LPD for 33 years as an auto service worker at the police garage. After he retired in 2001, I'm not sure he missed a full week before he was back volunteering, in several different capacities and in several different units. It's remarkable to see this man who checked my oil, fueled my patrol car, and cleaned my windows a few thousand times, now in the lab on the computer.

The second volunteer last Thursday when Sam and I walked through was Margi Stelling. Margi is also a former employee. She was an outstanding police officer for seven years when she sufferred a career-ending critical injury in an off-duty automobile accident in 2005. Margi suffered a catastrophic injury, and has fought back from paralysis to regain sufficient function to move on with a dramatically different life. It will be a fulfilling one, of that I am quite sure. Margi was working on an AFIS terminal examining fingerprints.

I missed the third volunteer who had been in last week, Jayme Krueger, also a former officer, who had to take a disability retirement earlier this year due to an on-the-job injury.

Here are three people who have every reason to be exhausted, or depressed, or downhearted. Instead, they are working--for free--in challenging tasks and contributing their efforts the organization they obviously love. I hope that when I am several years into retirement I still have Ole's energy, enthusiasm, good nature, and that I can be as active in contributing to others as he is. I pray that if should ever have to face the challenges placed before Margi, that I would be able to muster the faith, courage, and determination to do so with the same grace she shows, and turn my face to a bright future with my smile intact, as she has.

Jayme, Ole, Margi, you inspire me. Thank you for all you do for your colleagues and your community.


Anonymous said...

What would we do without Big Red and the volunteers, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I was devestated to hear what happened to Officer Margie Stelling when she had her accident. She is a wonderful officer and person. Whenever I saw her she put a smile on my face and she was always going the extra mile to help somebody. I'm glad to hear that she's making progress and I'm not surprised at what she's doing now with her wonderful personality.

jacquekeller said...

Funny you should mention Ole Buck. I remember his mother Betty whom I worked with in "Records" back in approximately 1974-1975. Betty was a dear lady, always cheerful. She reminded me just a little of a lephrecaun in that she was very short, with tiny hands and feet, slim arms and legs, a curly mop of gray hair, and a very round midsection. Betty told us that she was very slender she she was younger and loved to dance. By the time I knew her, she was a widow living with Bud (her nickname for Ole). I think Bud was her only social outlet. But we knew she missed dancing because often you would hear Betty humming to herself and, if you looked under her desk, you would see tiny feet flying about as she was typing an incident report.

I'm glad Bud is doing so well; Betty would be very proud. Thank you for that walk down memory lane!

Brian said...

This country would be in a world of hurt without its volunteers! In small towns, volunteers fight fires, and respond to medical emergencies. In hospitals, volunteers do all sorts of tasks. Its great to hear of people volunteering for LPD! It is sad to hear about injuries occuring to prevent people from doing what they love, but inspiring to hear about them rising above and giving their time to continue on with their dream!