Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A life well-lived

Fifteen years ago, I had the opportunity to make a great hire when I grabbed 24 year-old Vicki Bourg, pastry chef at the Molan Bakery.  A graduate from Central Missouri State with a bachelor’s degree in Restaurant Administration, she was looking for an opportunity to do something more socially significant after a few years in the hospitality industry.  She certainly found that opportunity at the Lincoln Police Department, and she quickly developed into an excellent officer.  What I liked about Vicki was not just her work, but her personality.  She instantly brightened every room she walked into. 

Vicki passed away Monday night, after battling cancer for the last several years.  Vicki continued to work as much as she could through treatment.  Early after her diagnosis, when chemotherapy was planned, Vicki came to see me one day.  She had gorgeous long blond hair, and she wanted to know if I would permit her to wear a plain dark ball cap when it fell out. Like everyone else, Vicki knew how the chief felt about police officers wearing ball caps, and I think she expected me to wince.  “Vicki,” I said, “you can wear absolutely anything you want—you can come to work in flannel PJs and fuzzy slippers if it helps.”  We had a nice laugh, as I explained the advantages of baldness.  Vicki donned that ball cap, and worked right through chemo, rarely missing a day, seemingly without any self-consciousness at all.  She arrived at 0730 lineup daily, spare handcuffs on her belt, brimming with optimism and humor through it all. 

We thought she had licked it.  God had other plans. 

I hope Vicki’s family can take solace in the knowledge that her life, though far too short, was a fulfilling one.  Vicki did things during her career that few people will ever have the chance to experience.  Her file is bursting with commendations that speak of crimes interrupted, artful interviews, skilled investigations, good arrests, rescued victims, and justice served.  She received the department’s Life Saving Award, Exceptional Duty Award, and she was selected as the Field Training Officer of the Year. Vicki accomplished things most people can scarcely dream about.  She lived the dream, and her legacy is the people whose lives she touched— victims, coworkers, new recruits, students, friends, a school, a community, this department. 

Vicki’s last assignment was serving as the school resource officer at Northstar High School.  The staff and students at Northstar adopted Vicki and helped her through the depth of her disease.  When Vicki lost her hair, they made caps up with her employee number and a pink ribbon to sell as a fundraiser.  They kept her spirits up and made sure she wasn’t alone.   They, in turn, were uplifted by her infectious optimism, her electric smile, her laugh, and the qualities her coworkers at LPD admired so much.  These memories will never go away, and we are all better for having known and worked with her.  We are also better for having shared her white chocolate raspberry cheesecake. 

That was a cake well-made, a fight well-fought, and a life well-lived.  God bless you, Vicki. May you rest in the peace of His gentle love.

43 comments:

Anonymous said...

RIP Vicky, We will miss you but know how hard you fought this. LPD is definately a better place with you having been here.

Dave said...

What a touching post Tom... RIP Officer Bourg and God Bless.

Damnit, got some dust in my eye, now it won't stop watering.

Anonymous said...

Chief,
My prayers go out to her friends and family. I did not know her but it sounds like the World is a better place from her having lived. What more can we ask for after we are gone?
Gun Nut

Former Deputy D said...

Vicki, thanks for your service and everything you have done. To all her family, co-workers and friends my deepest sympathy to you and to Vicki, "A Job Well Done" and "Rest In Peace." The lord gained another Angel to watch over us.

Chief, thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Rest in Peace Vicki. You are a true friend and a "one of a kind" person.
950.

Collins Family said...

Very well written and very well represented. Thank you Chief. And Thank YOU Vicky! Rest in Peace, knowing you made this world a better place.

Anonymous said...

Chief,

This is the best piece you have ever written - thoughtful, caring and deeply personal.

Vicki will be missed by everyone whose life she touched.

Go in peace, Vicki. My prayers to your friends and family.

Jeff Howard said...

Very nice, Chief! RIP, Vicki. RIP.

Anonymous said...

Students, administration, and staff at North Star will greatly miss Vicki. She was like any school resource officer I have ever met! She helped make North Star the amazing school it is today! Thank you, Chief, for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

My thoughts and prayers go to Vicki's friends and family. I, too, have known Vicki for 15 years. She was an amazing person! She will be greatly missed! Chief, thank for this amazing post! It is one of the best you have ever written. Rest in peace, Vicki!

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear about this loss. This for anyone is a true loss. Loved how you shared stories about baldness. That makes anyone smile when you can talk about your flaws openly and laugh at it.

Deb said...

That was a beautiful eulogy, you described her just as I knew her. I had the pleasure of working with her at North Star. I was a secretary in the Main Office and helped find info that Vicki might have needed at the moment. She was such an upbeat positive person. We too got to enjoy her Choc Rasberry cheesecake. The students loved her, as we all did. This is a terrible loss.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this chief! RIP Vicky!

Anonymous said...

We were all blessed to have crossed paths with an angel here on earth. RIP, Vicki!

Heather said...

Beautifully written. Vicki made such a huge impact on so many people in her short time on earth. It is comforting to know such a wonderful angel will is looking over us. God Bless.

Heather said...

What a beautiful message about a life well lived. It is a comfort to know she will be looking down over her family and the city of Lincoln. God Bless.

Valerie Oakleaf said...

God Bless You, Officer Bourg and you too, Chief Cassidy. This was a fantastic post and one that will remain in our hearts!
Prayers and best wishes go to Officer Bourg's family.
~V~

Kenny Morrow said...

I had put a personal ban on this site for fear of what I might say would get me in trouble with Sgt. Morrow. But I had to lift that ban momentarily when I heard there was a special article reference a wonderful friend/coworker, Vicki Bourg.

Thanks for the article Chief, well written. I'm going to link this to a memorial page for Vicki so that is shared with many others outside the PD.

Your Friend,
Ken

Ban is now back in effect.

Anonymous said...

Chief, what an amazing tribute to Vicki. I have known her for over 30 years. We attended high school and played sports together. She put 110% into everything she did. I can still hear her contagious laugh and it brings me comfort. An earth angel taken too soon. RIP Vicki.

Anonymous said...

Vicki, a true job well done. Not sure whether anybody else could of made the fight you did. Godspeed on your new journey among the angels-they will be able to learn something from you...

Anonymous said...

God Bless and thank you for helping watch over us at North Star. My school is more then greatful to have had you there. We Miss You. Thank you so very much.

stumble-tripping feet said...

I'm so sorry. I haven't kept up with things and didn't know she was so ill. I loved dispatching for Vicky.

1499

Anonymous said...

Officer Bourg made everybody smile around her. I had the pleasure of having some good conversations with her when i was a student at LNS and when i tried to talk in the microphone in her car (she never would let me) all my prayers go out to all her family and friends even though her life was cut short we know she lived it out to a max. thank you for the memories and RIP

JIM J said...

Other plans: It is situations just like this that almost bring tears to my eyes. I really did not know Vicky, but I did meet her once at the school. When someone with such great talents is taken away from this world it leaves nothing but questions. Genetics really play a huge role in people who keep cancer in check. Treatment, in some cases accelerate the worst case situation. Other people, who get no treatment, live decades with this disease. Still others, find cancer early and kill it with a simple excision. And a few get news of this disease and are gone in a few weeks. In one way we are all the same. We all have an end date, and only one knows where and when. Some things we are not able to handle as humans, and this life stage is one of those situations.
The adventure of life, nothing but questions.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to those that Vicki left behind. They are the ones hurting now, not her. Thank you the for friendship, generosity, optimism and love you left everyone you came in contact with.

Anonymous said...

RIP to Vicky and everyone close. You are in our thoughts and prayers,

Anonymous said...

May God Bless Vicki, her family, and her friends. May she rest in peace after a long, difficult battle.

And thank you, Chief, for sharing this story. It is always nice to hear about the good people around us, whom we may never notice, until we need them. They are truly angels among us.

Anonymous said...

RIP, I am sure Vicky's family will be honored to read this about her. Thanks Chief

MG said...

Well said, Chief. Vicki clearly touched a lot of lives.

Anonymous said...

Your eloquence at such a sad time is helpful to Vicky's friends and her family I am sure. Her life will never be forgotten.

Anonymous said...

vicki was my school officer and my friend.. she saved my butt many times and each time she showed me how much she cared about me... she saved my life and hope her life was just as amazing as she made mine. i love you vicki... your friend shellb.

Lauren Mehl said...

RIP Vicki, I will miss you so much. I will never forget our talks when i was a student at North Star. You made a huge impact on my life and helped me clean up my act and my life! I wouldnt be where i am at today if it wasnt for you! You were a great person and always helped us kids! You will be missed by many. Rest in peace sweety and ill see you in heaven.

Randy 552 said...

Chief, good words for a tremendous person. I had Vicki during for her first street rotation out of recruit class. She was a natural at policing and was a template for how any officer should conduct themselves. One of our initial calls was a burglary where an elderly couple's car had been stolen. Vicki was able to apply the human touch by displaying great empathy while conducting a professional investigation. That same quality was applied to everything else Vicki did.

Vicki will be missed.

Anonymous said...

Numbers 6:24-26 seems appropriate right now.

I suspect she'll be in heaven a long time before the devil knows she's left us.

Anonymous said...

I have always remembered a conversation I had with Vicki shortly after she started at the department. I asked her why a Baker would suddenly switch professions to become a Police Officer. Vicki told me that when she baked a pie and the customer picked it up at the counter, she would never get to see the joy on their face when they ate the pie. Vicki thought that police work would provide a better opportunity to have an immediate impact and make somebody happy. I thought that was pretty cool. It was one of those little slices of life that I continue to carry with me after all these years. Thank you Vicki.

Anonymous said...

you shore are going to be missed.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Chief! Beautifully written. My thoughts go out to Vicki's family and friends and to LPD. Thanks for your years of service Vicki... and to all officers!

I had the opportunity to attend the ceremony - thanks to all - it was very beautiful and moving! May God bless you all. LPD has certainly lost something that can never be replaced.

Again thanks Chief and to Vicki's family.

Anonymous said...

Tom, that was truly beautiful. The world is a better place because of people like Vicki Bourg. God bless her soul.

Anonymous said...

To Everyone Who Loved Vicki.....
The Memorial was an outstanding tribute to Vicki, accentuating the respect and love she earned.
Thank you to LPD, North Star, and those whose lives
she touched for such an amazing representation. Along with deepest sympathy to her family, I would like to
commend her parents for their love, strength, and integrity as Vicki's ultimate guidance. Blessings to Vicki for providing such warm memories.

Anonymous said...

To Chief Cassidy,

Your tribute to Vicki touched many more lives than you may ever know. It was a tribute to Vicki, her family, her friends and co-workers. That kind of admiration tweeks people's feelings......and triggers more of same. Great job, Chief. Your LPD "family" is privileged to have your support.

Tom said...

Vicki certainly left her mark along with her optimistic-spirited manner. My deepest sympathy to her family and all that loved her.
Tom Duden

Anonymous said...

I HAVE NEVER READ ANYTHING SO WELL WRITTEN BY A POLICE OFFICER- MAY VICKI BE BLESSED IN THE PRESENCE OF CHRIST AND HIS ANGELS. REV. MARC BEAUCHAMP

Susan said...

Very well written Chief. The memorial on Saturday was very moving and was the True Vicki in every way. Vicki was one of the closest friends and part of our family. Both of my children admired her and sought her suggestions for problem solving--what a fantastic listener she was. She left a legacy most of us dream of. Vicki touched so many and taught us we can persevere when we hit speed bumps in life. God gained a terrific hero and angel!!