Category Archives: Huber Heights

My new position – Chaplain

It’s official…I’m now a Chaplain for the Huber Heights Police Division!

I’ll be getting a call to come in and get fitted for my uniform and get my ID card in the next week or so. It is a “volunteer position”, and will require about 20 hours per month (or so). I want to say specifically: It will not diminish my dedication to all officers and firefighters in Ohio and surrounding states. If anything, it will augment what I do by way of experience, training, and more insight into the lives of responders, professionally and personally.

I will keep you updated as things continue to happen.

Advertisements

September 11th – 10 years later.

There are numerous thoughts swirling through my mind as I write this. It’s been ten years since the day. I was working at Lexis-Nexis at the time. We watched it all from our training room. Horror, fear, panic, sadness, and grief unexplainable…all at once. That evening I spent time with a wonderful woman who would later become my sweet wife.

People I call friends today would go to Ground Zero and help with the search and clean up. Ohio Task Force One went on their first mission. Among my friends, Chief Scott Hall was there. I knew none of those fine heroes then, but I have the privilege of knowing some of them today.

I remember being moved to tears by other pictures, at the time not even knowing why. People cheering and saluting the NYPD and FDNY as they drove by. The image of the exhausted firefighter surrounded by angels (and the snow version that winter). Those and so many others moved me. In 2008, I would figure out why.

In 2008, during one of the moments of silence, there was one for the last firefighter found alive. At that moment, a chain of events occurred that changed my life, and continues to do so even to this day. During that moment, a gratitude for our law enforcement and fire crews really “came to life” so to speak. That evening I called the Huber Heights Police and asked the dispatcher if she could let the officers and fire fighters know my appreciation for them. I was informed that they had not had that request in over 14 years. So that’s when I decided that I would reach as many as I could and let them know they are cared about. Since then I’ve talked (in person and via email) to officer sand firefighters from all over the country.

Today I read the story of Father Mychal Judge, the Chaplain of the New York Fire Department. He actually entered the towers that morning. Why? Because his guys were in there. And when commanders gave orders to evacuate the building, he refused to abandon the hundreds of firefighters still trapped inside saying, “My work here is not finished.”

“Fidelis Ad Mortem” – “Faithful Unto Death”. That’s what he was. Faithful unto death. One day I will get that badge with the word “Chaplain” on it. That’s where I’m headed. And when I do, I hope to be as faithful to “my guys” as he was to his. Fidelis Ad Mortem.

How baseball and Jackie Robinson teach us about life.

I have 2 stories to share today. In case you didn’t know, today in 1947 Jackie Robinson made his debut with the Brooklyn Dodgers. First, here’s the story behind it as related by Red Barber, the great announcer.

Note: There is one word that is offensive if used today. Red was telling the story as it happened at that time.


“In March of 1945, Mr. Rickey told me in confidence that only the board of directors of the ball club knew and only his family knew, and now I was going to know that he was going to bring a black player to the white [Brooklyn] Dodgers.

And Mr. Rickey said that going back to when he was the baseball coach at Ohio Wesleyan University, he took the team to play a series down at South Bend, Indiana with Notre Dame, and he said, “My best player was my catcher, and he was black. But,” said Mr. Rickey, “when we were registering the squad in the hotel, when the black player stepped up to sign the register, the clerk jerked the register back and said. ‘We don’t register niggers in this hotel.’” And Rickey remonstrated and said, “This is the baseball team from Ohio Wesleyan. We’re the guests of Notre Dame University.” He said, “I don’t care who you are. We don’t register niggers in this hotel.” Well,” Mr. Rickey said, “there are two beds in my room, aren’t there?’ And he said, “Yes.” “Well,” he says, “can’t he use one bed and not register?”

The clerk grudgingly allowed that to happen and Mr. Rickey took the key, handed it to the black player, and said, “You go up to the room and wait for me. Soon as I get the rest of the team settled, I’ll be up.”

Mr. Rickey said, “When I opened the door, here was this fine young man, sitting on the edge of his chair, and he was crying. And he was pulling at his hands, and he said, ‘Mr. Rickey, it’s my skin. If I could just tear it off, I’d be like everyone else.’”

And Mr. Rickey told me this day in March of 1945, he said, “In all these years I have heard that boy crying. And now,” he said, “I’m going to do something about it.” Red Barber, sports broadcaster”

(From “Inning 6: The National Pastime, 1940-1950”) Ken Burns Baseball)

Rickey had made huge contributions to baseball. Scouting, Minor Leagues, spring training, and numerous others. He could have rested on his accomplishments, but chose not to. He chose to fight. He had one last battle inside him and was determined to do it. I think you see the parallel here.

Life happens to us every day, and most days of our lives, in fact very few, will be moments that propel us into action. Moments that jump off the timelines of our life. The moments we were born for.

That was September 11, 2008 for me. When I heard that dispatcher tell me that she had not had anyone call in just to thank a cop for being there in over 10 years of work, that moment jumped off my timeline. So it’s become my mission to reach out to cops and firefighters and say “You ARE appreciated. You DO matter.” I can’t do alot. But I can do something.

What moment is significant in your life? What were you born to do?


Here’s a retelling of a story that Jackie reflected on much later. I don’t have the details, but if some of my baseball friends can fill in the blanks, let me know!

Jackie Robinson made history when he became the first black baseball player to break into the major leagues by joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. Branch Rickey, owner of the Dodgers at that time, told Robinson, “It’ll be tough. You’re going to take abuse you never dreamed of. But if you’re willing to try, I’ll back you all the way.”

And Rickey was right. Jackie was abused verbally (not to mention physically by runners coming into second base). Racial slurs from the crowd and members of his own team, as well as from opponents, were standard fare.

One day, Robinson was having it particularly tough. He had booted two ground balls, and the boos were cascading over the diamond. In full view of thousands of spectators, Pee Wee Reese, the team captain and Dodger shortstop, walked over and put his arm around Jackie right in the middle of the game.

“That may have saved my career,” Robinson reflected later. “Pee Wee made me feel that I Belonged.”


The Bible admonishes us “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Pee Wee Reese offered support at a time in Jackie’s life that was crucial. I think most of us have had that person in our lives. The question is how to we be Pee Wee Reese for someone else? What can we do to make things better?

Funeral of Deputy Sheriff Suzanne Hopper

I just wanted to write a note about today’s events. I know it’s long, but it’s worth the read.It was an exhausting day, physically but more so emotionally.

I arrived at the Miami Township Police Department and was greeted my Major DiPietro. I went to the mall with Sgt. Nienhaus and we gathered there as a group before leaving. Met up with Mike Siney over there. We had somewhere around 75 cars there from various departments all over. I was already starting to feel honored just being in these people’s presence. A group of cops grieving and doing a mission of honor for a sister, and I was allowed to come along for the ride.

When we met up at the Navistar plant, only then did I realize the enormity of the support among her brothers and sisters in blue, most of who she never met or knew. Cops from all over the state. Later I’d find out, all over the country. We left there at 9:45 and took over an hour to get to the church, just a few miles away. Here is where the community support began to be noticed. Small children waving from car windows parked along the route. Businesses “Closed to Honor Deputy Hopper”. Veterans standing at attention saluting the procession. And hundreds of people waving at us from the side of the road.

Once we arrived at the church, to see the sea of officers in support of Deputy Hopper. Here is where I saw officers from the Chicago Police, Yonkers NY Police, Maryland and the Kentucky State police. The enormity of the moment began to set in on me. The first tears came here. Sheriff Kelly spoke magnificently, and did her son, and husband.

We waited outside to begin out journey to the cemetery. I talked to some of the guys from Huber Heights and Trotwood. Good to see familiar faces at such an event. Sitting in the parking lot in a sea of cars with lights flashing as the casket was brought out and as we followed one by one was a very moving experience. I can’t explain it to you. Watching the video won’t even give you the full affect. It took more than 2 hours to get to the cemetery. The route was lined with all sorts of folks out in the cold and snow holding up signs of support for the officers. The most moving part is the graveside ceremony. I was surrounded by a sea of blue.And felt the shot from the guns on the salute. And cried as the bagpipes played amazing grace.

I never knew (or met as far as I know) Deputy Hopper.But she knew about me. You know that from my previous note. But this was closer to me. She was one of my officers. Her loss caused some pain to me. Not like that experienced by family or the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. I can’t explain it to you. I can’t tell you how it feels. But these guys are my guys. And alot of the officers in the crowd had read emails from me. They wouldn’t recognize me, but they are my officers too. Pastor Pat has talked about Ministry in such a way that you have ownership over a city. That you feel it’s pain and that you hear it cry to you at night. These officers are that to me. I see them, hear them and feel the pain and sometimes frustration they feel. And when you stand and walk among them, it’s an indescribable feeling.

So I was taken back by the awesomeness of what I saw and felt today. It was good to see the support of a community, but why can’t they see that everyday, without the grief and loss? I also pray that I will never have to see it again. Their jobs are painful enough at times. Lets pray that they be spared form the grief again.

An Open Letter to Saint Michael from a humble cop…

This note was published by a good friend of mine, Gerry Gustin from the Huber Heights Police Division. I found this note moving at the time, and even more so now.


Dear Saint Michael,

I am thankful for over 25 years of protection that I have received from you and hope that you don’t find my letter disrespectful. But times they-are-a-changin’ Sir. We are used to reading about the murder of a cop or two in a state all the way across the country where there’s huge crime and drama. Those of us on the job listen to the story, say a silent prayer for their souls and their families. Most of America just goes about its business – more concerned with whom Jennifer Anniston is hooking up with than how someone could murder a law enforcement officer.

Literally thousands of us attend memorial services in Washington DC each May with cops from all over the world. Most of them get it – some just go to party – but most of them get it. Every officer killed was a little piece of all of us. That’s why I always went. I wanted to get it – and I did. I am respectfully thankful of that. You were there Mike – and I appreciated it. I am GLAD I was not on of the ones that didn’t get it.

St. Mike – it seems that now we have people more frequently taking out even more cops at one time. Ambushing them. Knowing that many cops would be present or arriving and taking advantage of this to reduce our numbers, make our wives and husbands cry, make our children grow up in the shadow of the badge with the rose, instead of the under the protection of the badge that daddy or mommy wears on their chest and pokes them in the face when mommy or daddy hugs them good night and goes to work. There are so many examples, Mike. You know them all – you helped their souls each time. North Hollywood Bank Robbery, the attacks on the World Trade Center Towers on 9-11-01, and then the more recent situations wherein our country’s cops are being gunned down two, three, four at a time.

Saint Michael, I pledge on my faith and my own soul to do whatever you guide me to do – to help in some way – to listen and be open to your words. Help me help us. Help us to help us! WE have got to take better care of each other. We have got to be prepared at all times, yet remain approachable human beings. Help us find that balance.

There have been enough tears in the last, nearly three hundred years. over 15000 names on the wall in DC. MOST of them from little bitty departments nobody ever heard of. You only gotta see a little guy dressed up in his dad’s uniform at the police memorial, standing at attention as they light the blue laser, tears streaming down his mom’s face, melting candle in his hand – to understand. Please Saint Mike – bolster your shield, sharpen your sword, help us stay alive. Let the offender face his God in judgement for his or her crimes – but let the officer live.

Not much to ask an arc-angel… right? Please Sir, have a talk with the Big Guy. Give us a few more breaks this year. It’s only April.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – Amen.

Respectfully,

Lt. Gerry Gustin – Huber Heights Ohio Police Division

God Bless ’em – every one!


6 PM moment of sincence for today, 12/8/09

Tonight at 6 PM, there is a moment of silence for the Lakewood four. This was passed to me by the KY FOP site.

I have descided to expand that out a little bit. For all you who are interrested in joining me (read that as “PLEASE JOIN ME”) at 6, I will not only be praying for Lakewood, and Pellham Alabama (Officer Philip Davis the other officer burried today), but for my state, city and county.

Ohio State Patrol (OSP)
Kentucky State Police (KSP)
Montgomery County (OH) Sherriff’s Office
Huber Heights Police Division (Where I live – substitute your local police dept.)
Miami Township Police Department (Since I work in Miami TWP)

I’ll be praying for their safety and protection from evil.
Prayer for wisdom to be able to see danger that they may have not seen otherwise. Praying that “no weapon formed against them will prosper” according to Isaiah 54:17. Prayer for wisdom and patience in diffusing high-risk situations.
Prayer for healing/protection from PTSD (PTSD is a lead contributor to officer “Line of Duty Suicides“)

And as I wrote this, another officer was killed in North Carolina. Deputy Sheriff Charlie Brown of the Martin County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina was killed by a suspect who was walking down the street shooting a gun.

When will the violence against our officers stop?

FAQ – Who are you?

I’ve decided to update my blog with details and some of the questions I’ve been asked.

Q. Why are you contacting me?
A. I have found your email address on a police or city/county website, or it was given to my my another police or fire department.

Q. What is your goal?
A. It’s my personal goal that no law enforcement officer in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana or Hawaii will ever come to a holiday and not know that that are appreciated and honored by someone. I want them to know that someone cares that they are out there.

Additionally, I try to cover Fire departments in Ohio.

You can see what departments I currently have by clicking here.

Q. What are you doing?
A. I perform 3 functions:

1. Send holiday greetings to get forwarded or posted for the police officers to see. The regular emails are only sent for Police Week, July 4, September 11, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
2. In the event of injury, I would know who to contact and either send my get well wishes, or make a hospital visit.
3. Should an officer give the supreme sacrifice, I would have a contact that I could inquire about visitation and give the family and the department my condolences when possible.

Q. What is your attachment to Ohio and Kentucky?
A. I currently live in Ohio. I was raised in Kentucky and most of my family still live there.

Q. Is this SPAM? What do you do with the email addresses? Is this coming from an automated system?

A. This is not SPAM. I keep the addresses on an Excel spreadsheet that is password protected. When I send out a message, I open up my Outlook, type the message, and get the email addresses from that sheet. Under no circumstance have I or will I give any information out to anyone that I receive.

Q. What do you need?
A. I need one Point of contact in each police department. I do not need individual email addresses. I want to respect each officers privacy as much as possible. You can see what departments I currently have by clicking here.

Q. A member of my department is in the hospital. Would you visit them?
A. I will try my best to visit any hospitalized hero I know about. All I need is a the hospital and room number. If you have talk to a family member to get permission, that would be good also. I don’t want to intrude if the family wants private time or does not want to receive visitors.

Q. A member of my department was killed in the Line of Duty. Would you go to the funeral or viewing?
A. It would be an honor to pay my respects to a hero killed in the Line of Duty. Sometimes due to work/family schedules it may not be possible. Contact me with the details and I’ll do my best to make it.

Q. A member of my department passed away from non-duty injuries. Would you go to the funeral or viewing?
A. It would be an honor to pay my final respects to any hero. Sometimes due to work/family schedules it may not be possible. Contact me with the details and I’ll do my best to make it.

Q. What started this?
A. This began while I was thinking on the events of 9/11 in 2008. One of the last “moment of silence” was for the fire fighter that was the last survivor removed. I realized that we should be extremely grateful for our law enforcement and fire crews. When I called my local department (Huber Heights, OH) on 9/11 and asked if they could let the officers know my appreciation for them and I was informed that they had not had that request in over 14 years. So that’s where it started.

Q. How long have you been doing this?
A. I have been doing this in Southwestern Ohio since Thanksgiving 2008.

Q. How can my department get added?
A. If you received an email from me, just reply to confirm what email address you want me to use. If you have not, email me: doctormikecrain(replace this with the “at sign”)gmail.com.

Q. I’m part of a fire department that is outside your radius. Could you still add us?
A. Absolutely. Fire Departments are larger in quantity and a little harder to reach, that is why I set the limit. It is a time restraint for me to do large quantities of research. Just contact me (see above).

Q. I’m from a fire/police department in another state. Could you still add us?
A. Absolutely. Due to time constraints and information availability I can’t try to contact each PD/FD in the US. Just email me at doctormikecrain(replace this with the “at sign”)gmail.com and I’ll add you.

Q. Can any one reply to the holiday emails?
A. Yes. Any one can reply. Any reply to me is strictly confidential. I gladly read and respond to each email I get from officers and fire fighters.

Q. I received an email from you about a Line of Duty death. Where do you get your information?
A. I received a notification from the Officer Down page. I looked up your department’s web page and sent an email to the listed contact.

Q. Are you/have you been a police officer or fire fighter?
A. No.

Q. Do you have officers/fire fighters in your family?
A. My cousin is a volunteer firefighter in Menifee County, KY, and a third cousin works for the Sheriff’s department.

Q. I’m in Indiana (or another state). Why was I contacted?
A. I covered a small area of Eastern Indiana that was within the 75 mile radius of my house. Also I have accidentally contacted departments in other states when I was looking for smaller towns (I contacted Centerville , UT instead of Centerville, IN). I visited Hawaii in 2002 on my honeymoon, so I have contacted those departments.

Q. Who are you?
A. My name is Dr. Michael A. Crain. I was awarded my Doctorate of Ministry (D.Min.) in 2008. I was born and raised in Mariba (Menifee County) Kentucky. After graduating High School in 1994, I joined the United States Air Force. I served four years and got out in 1999. I’ve been a resident of Ohio ever since. I’ve lived in Moraine, Dayton, and now Huber Heights. I am married with four children. I work at PNC Mortgage in Miamisburg, OH.

Q. Are you on a social networking site?
A. Yes. I’m on Facebook, PoliceLink, FireLink and LinkedIn.

Q. Are you available for ride alongs or meetings?
A. As time and distance permits I will do either. I have 40 ride-alongs under my belt. and have had great experiences on ride alongs with various departments in my area.

Q. How can I help?
A. Spread the word to other police and fire departments that I do not have contacts for. You can see what departments I currently have by clicking here.

Q. Why do you care about us?
A. This is a tough question to answer with a short answer. I think that everyone should. I think you should never have to pay for a meal in uniform. I think that complaints should be far out-numbered by the praise you receive. So 9/11/2008 I just wanted to say thanks. After I contacted my local police department to express appreciation, I found that appreciation for first responders isn’t shown very often. I’ve found that the more I give, the more I want to give. Local efforts became state-wide efforts, then included Kentucky and parts of Indiana. As I ride with officers, or read various articles, my desire to support you becomes greater. Then after Citizen’s Police Academy session at the Huber Heights Police Division where Law Enforcement suicide was mentioned, I wanted to do even more. When I hear about struggles that departments hare having with the community, I want to stand there beside you. I celebrate when you celebrate, hurt when you hurt, grieve when you grieve.

I care because a moment in time, God placed one thought inside my heart, and that has changed my life completely. The conversations I have, the people I meet, and the emails I’ve receive continue to inspire me far more than I ever imagined.

I care because you do.