Category Archives: email

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2014

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say another thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I can not express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

As I write this, Patriot Day is two weeks away. It is a day or remembrance for what we lost in the attacks on 9/11. Just under 3000 people lost their lives that day. 343 firefighters, 70 officers of the NYPD and PAPD, 8 private EMT’s and a K9 gave their lives that day and over 75 more since then due to “9/11 related illness”.

From time to time we all battle the “us versus them” feeling. Sometimes it’s when a shooting makes the national news. Sometimes it’s when we are trying to get enough funding to ensure we can operate safely and provide the best service we can. Sometimes, you just have a long day and wonder “does it really matter?” And that’s just the external weights that come with the job. I read an article by a nurse and thought an excerpt really applies here:

But I’m not alone. And it’s the people by my side that make me feel normal about this chaos that we live in. This peephole into reality, that only a few of us see… What choice do we have? This is our job. This is our life. Even if we quit it, it’s too late. Once you peep through that hole, you can’t pretend you haven’t seen it.

As Public Safety personnel, that is who we are. We battle the evil, we take the fight to the darkness, we stop destruction and we stop the bleeding. When I first started this in 2008, I thought the reason that you are awesome was because you battle the evil. But now I see, the battle is not what makes you awesome. What makes you awesome is that you get up, and do it. You help others fight the same fight. You share with others the tools you have. You go home, get rest and then you get up, and do it all again. You are the person by someone’s side, helping them feel normal in the midst of chaos. I’ve seen as you help that 90-year-old woman who never had an accident process what just happened. I’ve listened to how you feel about all the “politics”. I’ve been in the car weaving in and out of traffic so you can get there to save someone. I’ve seen how you keep that elderly person with dementia calm while we wait for medics to take her to the hospital. I’ve seen how you bandage the kid who was just the victim of the hit and run and tell him he is going to be OK and tell his parents that you “will find the person who did this.” You’ve stopped to make sure that Doc here is up to speed and is not in the dark.

So you may feel like you’re in a war. You may feel tired, or unimportant, or like giving up. I Just ask that you keep on going. You do more good that you realize and it matters to more people than you think. Really.

Thanks for reading, stay safe, and contact me if I can help you.

I’ve said it in every email. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Advertisements

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel: Happy Fourth of July

First let me apologize for the lateness of this message. As always, I want to say a big thank you to all who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank each of you reading this. It’s always my goal that something said in these notes will encourage, inspire or uplift you in some way. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading.

As we near the Fourth of July, Independence Day here in America, we take time to remember the sacrifices of those before us. Those who pledged “to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.” Writing some years after the events of the Revolutionary War, John Quincy Adams wrote, “Posterity, you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.”

But for those of us in and around public safety, we know that lots of people are not making “good use of it.” There are humans inflicting all manner of evil on each other and sometimes we feel as if we are not accomplishing anything. Not to mention storms and natural disasters. Sometimes we get “weary in well doing”. Sometimes we think we are not making a difference. Sometimes we almost give up. I know what that feels like.

I just finished World War Z with my son. It was a good movie, but I think I have a theory. It’s not zombies or smallpox or aliens or some weather disaster that will cause the world to disintegrate into chaos. I think it is growing darker as people care less. It grows darker as people stop looking out for each other. It grows darker as we hide in fear or self-preservation, or the less we speak out for truth, good, and justice. It grows darker as WE grow darker.

So what do we do? I know that you are out there “fighting the good fight”. Please know, I don’t say this lightly. I say this to some of the strongest people I know. I say it for people who I have seen with my own eyes fight all kinds of evil for a fellow officer, EMT, or firefighter. I just ask that you take courage and fight just a little harder. Fight for each other. Fight for what is right. Keep up that fight! Keep marching toward evil and fighting back the darkness! Are you tired? Feel hopeless? Reach out to a brother or sister. Reach out to a supervisor, chief or Chaplain. But whatever you do, don’t give up and don’t give in. If you need help, ASK. If you can give help, SPEAK UP.

That is what can change our world for the better. We are in this together.

In closing, as always, thank you so much for all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Distribution: Please distribute to all law enforcement personnel – Police Week 2014

As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. I can’t personally shake your hands or buy you lunch. I can, however, let you know that people DO care. This message is being read by departments of all shapes and sizes. To each of you, welcome. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading.

May 11-17 this year is Police Week. It was designated by President Kennedy in “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”. We are going into a time of remembrance. There will be local, state and national memorials. Locations may vary from the front of the building, in restaurants, pubs or the national memorial in Washington D.C. It’s a time to remember our fallen and to honor their courage and sacrifice. I think one of the best way to honor them, is to live better lives ourselves.

I was watching a video last week where a motivational speaker was talking about the speech below. It is a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt, and I think it is very fitting for you to remember. You have a job where you are constantly second-guessed by the public. So read this quote and let it soak in.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I’ve been privileged to see some of the “inner workings” of what goes on, good and bad. But you are out there doing the job every day. You are out there in the “dust and sweat and blood” doing what you do best. And the secret that some of you don’t let out is this: Sometimes the dragon wins. Sometimes despite out best efforts, things go wrong. Despite all the efforts, there are still DUI’s, meth labs and domestics to go to. But do you give up? No way! You keep pushing back the darkness. You keep attacking evil, even in its home court! You keep going to the same house and pulling someone out who is high, drunk or beating on someone else. You keep up the pressure. That’s what I call someone who “spends himself in a worthy cause”. We might never see the end of the evil that people inflict on others, but that doesn’t keep us from fighting, and that’s why you are amazing.

In closing, some of you will be heading to Washington for the National Memorial, and I hope for a safe trip. Others are going because you know someone being added to the wall. My thoughts and prayers are with you for safety, as well as healing. But for all of you, I hope and pray that not only will the week be safe, but the rest of the year as well. I hope there is an outpouring of appreciation from the communities that you serve.

In closing, thank you for all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Please distribute to all Police, Paramedic and Fire personnel – Merry Christmas

First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers, Administrators, and fellow Chaplains who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.

I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season. For those of you in stations or cars working during the holidays, we appreciate the sacrifices you and your family are making while ensuring our safety and security. It does not go unappreciated or unnoticed.

It’s that time of the year again. The Holidays can be a source of wonderful joy. I look forward every year to having some down time, spending time with my family, and going back to my home town to see more of my family. And there’s always a stop (or two or three!) at a police station or fire house to spread more of my support.  It’s a time of traditions. Most of us have them, though yours and mine are likely different. I know that some of you reading this will be working those days. Some of you volunteered so the department newlywed can have that first Christmas with his new bride or the new father with his newborn on Christmas morning. Some of you will be busy at work when I crawl out of bed on Christmas morning, or will hear the tones drop multiple times that night. Some of you will do it in freezing temperatures, and others will do it in warm ones. You will change your holiday schedule and family time around your work, and may not even think about it because “That’s what I do.” As a Chaplain, I’ve been privileged to see some of what goes on “behind the scenes”. I hear the stories and see the sacrifice. Lots of us do. Don’t ever forget that. But if you do, you know where to find me. So, do Doc a favor this Christmas. Have a great time. Be with people you love during the Holidays. Find some time to relax. Do something that makes YOU happy. Sit and enjoy some warm cocoa, or a cold drink (a good raspberry tea is my drink of choice) and enjoy it. You deal with the bad enough. Find some good and soak in as much as you can.

During the holidays, I always put in this information, because I know that someone may need it. The holidays are meant to be times of joy, happiness, time with those we love and hope. While it can produce stress for even the best of us, for some of you can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. It can be hard to balance out what you have to deal with and still know that there are great people in society as well. I also know that it’s hard for us to reach out sometimes (and I’m no exception to this rule). If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, and any other Supervisor available for help. There is also other Clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. My phone is always on and I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, send an email. Reach out if you need to.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes for 2014. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Please distribute to all Police, Fire, and EMS personnel – Happy Thanksgiving

First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers, Administrators and fellow Chaplains who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.

I hope you find this email helpful and encouraging. This email marks five years that I have been sending out these emails on the holidays. So whether this is your first time reading, or you’ve been on board since the beginning, welcome. I’d like to take this time to reflect on some of the things I’m thankful for at this time.

I will say that this has been a life-changing experience for me. In the last five years, you have taught me more about life (and even myself) than I thought possible. This all started by just wanting to say “Thanks” to a group of local folks who I thought were under-appreciated. And over time, that “mission” has evolved and broadened, and broadening me with it. For that, I say Thank you.

I say “Thank you” for picking up some meals. Thank you for inviting me into your homes. Thank you for opening up and telling me what you really thought about the job (It’s hard, you don’t like the hours, you are lonely on the holidays.) Thank you for not sheltering me from the bad, from the disasters, from the politics, and from the things that make your job so difficult. Thank you for telling me that is OK to feel anger at the kidnapping suspect, for saying it’s OK to vent with you later. Thank you for also telling me that a death notification is very hard, emotional, and draining and it’s OK to go outside “for some air”. Thank you for showing me you are human. That you get angry, hurt or depressed. Thank you for allowing me to see your emotions at the funeral. And for those who knew when my wife was in the hospital, and for sending the cards, thoughts, calls and prayers.

For those of you whom I have never met “in person”, you have not been any less appreciated and impactful. Thank you for showing me that even in your department’s worst times, you take the time to drop a nice email or call me. Thank you for trusting someone (whom you may never meet) enough to read and pass along my notes. Thank you for giving me insight into what it’s like policing in Alaska, or working a fire crew in Maui.

Thank you I can now understand better what you feel, and as a chaplain, that’s what helps me be able to help you. And last but not least, thank you for showing me that the “Thin Blue Line”, “Thin Red Line” and the “Thin White line” are not just images or ideas. They are a reality and a symbol of what is good in the world.

Finally, as we approach “the holidays”, I usually advise that the holidays can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, other supervisors, clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to. Life is a battle best fought with others.

I’ve said it in every email, and every chance I get. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. I’ve said it to you on the parks and restaurants. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel – 9/11/2013

Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Paramedic and Fire personnel

First, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I can not express my gratitude enough for your assistance.

As I write this, Patriot Day is two weeks away. It is a day or remembrance for what we lost in the attacks on 9/11. Just under 3000 people lost their lives that day. 343 firefighters, 70 officers of the NYPD and PAPD, 8 private EMT’s and a K9 gave their lives that day and over 50 more since then due to “9/11 related illness”.

It’s during these times that we ask ourselves a question like “What do we do to honor their sacrifice?” One of the 343 was a Chaplain, Mychael Judge. Sometimes I ask myself the same question, although maybe not in those same words. When I put on my uniform I may take a second glance to make sure it looks like it should. I do what is needed and I behave in a manor to not bring shame on my position, or tarnish that honor. That looks a little different for everyone of us. When you lace up your boots and get in that engine or cruiser, I’m sure you do the same thing.

But don’t think that means we don’t have “bad days”. We all have bad days from time to time, even us Chaplains. So what we do with our “bad days” determines if we bring honor to our professions or if we tarnish them. It also determines if our “bad day” becomes a “bad year” or a “bad life”. So what do we do? I understand that your life may be complicated. As everyone travels the road through life, we have to deal with money issues, family issues, hospitalizations and death of family members. So how do we keep ourselves going? Here are a few ideas.

1. Take time for yourself. I know I say it a lot. You have to do something for you that makes you happy. Whatever it is – hunt, fish, go to the beach, go to the mall, go to a religious service. Do something for YOU.

2. Remember, anything can change. If you are going through a tough time, it can change. Things change. People change. We change.

3. Reach out. Find someone you can trust and talk to them. Supervisors, clergy, co-workers, doctors, chaplains… somebody.

4. Share your story. This might be hard for some of us. If you managed to fight your way out of a dark time in your life, others may need to hear it. If you had a “critical incident” and you came back happy, then someone else will need that. It will help someone else, but it will also help you to remember it. Life threw it’s worst at you and you came out on top. You won. Be proud of that. I’ll end this point with one of my favorite stories from “The West Wing”. “This guy’s walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can’t get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, ‘Hey you. Can you help me out?’ The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, ‘Father, I’m down in this hole can you help me out?’ The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on. Then a friend walks by, ‘Hey, Joe, it’s me can you help me out?’ And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, ‘Are you stupid? Now we’re both down here.’ The friend says, ‘Yeah, but I’ve been down here before and I know the way out.'” Someone needs you. Let them find you.

Thanks for reading, stay safe, and contact me if I can help you.

I’ve said it in every email. I’ve said it to the chiefs and administrators when I contact them. You all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Distribution: Please distribute to all law enforcement personnel – Police Week 2013

As always, I want to say thank you to everyone who has made it possible for me to distribute this message. I cannot express my gratitude enough for your assistance. I also want to thank you, the reader. I can’t personally shake your hands or buy you lunch. I can, however, let you know that people DO care. This message is being read by departments of all shapes and sizes. To each of you, welcome. I know you’re busy and you do a lot to get ready for your shift. So thank you for reading.

May 12-18 this year is Police Week. It was designated by President Kennedy in “recognition of the service given by the men and women who, night and day, stand guard in our midst to protect us through enforcement of our laws”.

In this note, I want to talk to you briefly about something that we all have in common, and few of us want to talk about, pain.

I read a wise statement once and it was “Knowing that there is worse pain doesn’t make present pain hurt any less.” We all experience pain at some level. Be it physical, emotional, or relational, no pain is more real than another, though it may be more defined. It may give a perspective or context, but just knowing that someone has a broken arm does not make the stubbed toe hurt any less.

Pain is something that we are aware of. Most of us have had to witness pain as part of our duties. From car accidents and cardiac arrests, burglaries to house fires. Some of you may have chronic physical or emotional pain. And for those of you that have given a death notification, you know just what I mean, pain is all around us.

So what do we do in a world full of pain? How can we keep the “spring in our step” with pain in our mind or bodies?

1) Understand that “being tough” is not always the answer.
2) Take time to decompress. I’ve said this before. Take time for you. I know we have busy schedules and numerous commitments, but if you are always running on empty, you’re not doing anyone a favor, including yourself.
3) Get proper rest, exercise and have a proper diet. Every doctor will advise this. Also, as most of us know, this is not always easy. Make gradual changes that you can stick with instead of numerous major changes. Those will be more effective.
4) Get involved in support groups. This can be helpful with physical pain as well as emotional. When you’re with people who have chronic pain and understand what you’re going through, you can benefit from their wisdom in coping with the pain.
5) Get a good massage.
6) Have someone you can speak to about ANYTHING, and be willing to listen. They may tell you something you may not want to hear.
7) If you need help…ASK.

Lastly, do Doc a favor, (well 2 actually).
1) Never minimize anther’s pain because you think yours is more real.
2) Even with your pain (or in spite of it), reach out to someone you see in pain.
It may not change the world, but it will improve theirs, and yours.

For all the law enforcement reading this, I’m praying for a peaceful week for you. Safe traffic stops. I hope people see you in restaurants and pay for your food. I pray for a time of healing for the departments reading this who have had a loss in the last year. I pray that those of you making the trip to Washington will have a safe trip. For those who are attending a memorial to honor a fallen brother or sister, I pray for safety and healing. But most of all, I hope there is an outpouring of appreciation form the communities that you serve.

In closing, thank you for all you do. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.