Monthly Archives: February 2012

The death of celebrities versus military and first responders.

OK, I felt that I had to say something. On numerous levels, the premature death of Whitney Houston is saddening. Her music touched numerous people on different levels. That’s why she was a star. She could sing…and sing good. It saddens me the someone could struggle that much over the years and seem to have very little help (or clear intervention) from others. So here’s a couple of things that Doc would like you to take from this in hopes of helping those around you (or maybe even yourself).

First, there are places in our hearts that are designed to be filled with certain things. Families. Nature. Work. Ourselves. Service to others. And a place for God. All those things are supposed to be built into our lives, and when there are pieces missing (or those that are there are dysfunctional), then our first response is usually to try to fill it with something else. That’s why for so may people a crappy day at work or at home leads them to a bar, a joint, etc. But that void remains, no matter how much you try to fill it with something else. While I feel sorry that she felt the need to drown out what was going on over the course of her life, it saddens me knowing that so many others that we all know and love do it everyday.

Which brings me to the second thing: I find it hard to believe that no one in her circle could see it was at a level that action needed to be taken. Maybe that’s because she kept refusing, or she never let anyone that close. But I would encourage all my readers to have people in your life that can tell you the hard things. People who can not only tell you if you are getting off track, but who you will actually listen to. If you have an alcohol problem they can “get in your business” and tell you. And then help you get over it. Just a word of warning. It may hurt like crazy and totally make you mad. But you have to have safeguards that prevent the toxic natures of our own personality and shortcomings from winning.

As a side note before I get to the last point, if I were to die on the same day as a “super-star” I would not be offended if the world honor’s their passing. Even my friends. Really. Realistically, I know that the open arms of my Saviour for me is all that is important at that moment. So if a “super-star” dies at the same time I do, don’t feel that you dishonor me by remembering them too. I bring this up since there are posts all over the internet making us feel guilty for remembering her and not the soldiers who have died, the police who defend and the firefighters who protect us, etc. Like I can only mourn/remember one person at a time. I joined the Air Force back in 1995 not because of the glamor or prestige. I joined because I wanted to serve my country. And it didn’t matter to me if the country celebrated me, and I dare say that those guys feel the same. So, if you don’t want to think about her, fine. But don’t make others feel guilty who might.

Lastly, there was a story in the book I was reading, Mind Hunter, about a poster that adorned an office in the FBI.

“For years, Gregg McCrary had a cartoon tacked to the bulletin board in his office. It shows a fire-breathing dragon standing directly over a prostrate knight. The caption reads simply, “Sometimes the dragon wins.”

One of my favorite scenes or Criminal Minds covers this.

This really describes out lot in life. Sometimes, the dragon wins. My Law Enforcement and fire friends see it all the time. You can have the best skills, accuracy, body armor, intelligence, and support and it still goes bad. A “routine stop” (Although you are taught that NO stop is routine) ends up bad. A “small fire” leading to a collapsed wall. A hose malfunctions. A gun jams. And good guys get hurt (or die). Sometimes the dragon wins. I think this was true in Whitney’s case, in in countless of our lives. So in short: Take time for you. Enjoy your family, friends and hobbies. Do what you love and love what you do. Pray. Love. Reach Out. Enjoy. Live.

The dragon doesn’t always win. Our job is to better ourselves, and help each other so the dragon wins less and less.

End Of Watch Folder Planning Guide

End of Watch. EOW. The final call. It’s not something that we want to think about. You prepare and train in hopes of preventing it. You exercise, eat right in hopes of pushing it back, but it’s something that will happen to all of us (on duty or off). How do we prepare?

Some organizations have guidelines for a Line of Duty death. Maybe some help you prepare for how to minimize the impact it will have on your family. No one wants their family to have to make the arrangements, so here is a checklist to help minimize the confusion surrounding our End of Watch. This was written by Wives Behind the Badge, Inc, but this could just as easily apply to Fire, EMS or even non-responders (AKA, the rest of us).

Note: Keep in mind that just because YOU know where things are, it is likely no one else will. Have this information in DETAIL. Specifics. When you say the “desk drawer”, you might know it’s the bottom left, but your grieving family may now or forget in all the confusion and grief. A little pain for you to make it easier for them.

Table of Contents (showing what documents are in the folder and listing important documents stored elsewhere)
II. Copies of forms filed at the office/department (for example – CHP Forms 102 and 611B)
III. Contact Sheets
      A. Department/Agency/Union contacts (direct lines and cell numbers)
      B. Family contact list (including who you’ve chosen as your family spokesperson) *make sure to note who is to take care of your children in the immediate and the long-term.
      C. Friend contact list *make sure to note who needs to be contacted right away and how you would prefer they be contacted.
      D. Other contacts (insurance agents, lawyers, accountants, estate executor, etc)
IV. Legal Documents
      A. Last Will & Testament
      B. Advanced Health Directive
      C. Trust
      D. Power of Attorney
      E. List of locations for deeds, titles, insurance policies, etc.
V. Financial
      A. List of all bank, credit, and investment accounts (including usernames and passwords and PINs)
      B. List of all safe-deposit boxes and locations of keys
      C. List of insurance policies (with policy numbers and contact information) that includes a benefit amount breakdown for each
      D. List of local, state, and federal LODD benefits *note – the state and federal benefit information can be found at
      E. Copies of forms showing beneficiaries for life insurance policies
VI. Other
      A. List of all online accounts (email, etc) that includes usernames and passwords
      B. List of all important serial numbers (guns, electronics, vehicles, etc)
      C. List of other important numbers (social security, passport, driver license, etc)
      D. List of important passcodes (safes, alarm codes, etc)
      E. List of guns you own, their locations, and any notes about them
      F. Other important notes for your spouse/family (ex: on caring for your home or animals, etc)
      G. Personal letters to family & friends
VII. Final Arrangements
      A. Type of services desired (funeral, memorial, wake, viewing, rosary, burial, graveside, cremation, etc)
      B. Preferred mortuary & cemetery
      C. Preferred Officiant (chaplain, minister, pastor, priest, rabbi, other) & their contact info
      D. Preferred musical selections(Note: Don’t say “Our Song”. State it specifically as this list may be handed off to others for help. Remember, the idea is no guessing for your family.)
      E. Preferred eulogist and speakers
      F. Preferred charity contributions
      G. Pall bearers, if applicable
      H. Preferred Law Enforcement Protocols (honor guard, etc)
      I. Letters to be read at services

Thanks again to Wives Behind the Badge, Inc.

If you have some tips to add, comment or let me know.