Episode 32: New Adventure, New Opportunity (The COVID Chronicles Continue)

May 25, 2020img_1473

Good Monday evening VFOT friends, fans, and followers. This blog post was actually due yesterday, but as I started planning it, I deliberately decided to delay it. You see, today is Memorial Day 2020, and this Holiday weekend has been unlike any that I’ve ever experienced…unlike any most of us have experienced. I wanted to write this today.

I’m going to apologize upfront, because I’m going to deviate from the normal organization of these entries, and I’m probably going to go on a little longer than usual. I’m sorry.

Today is Memorial Day. It’s a day that many recognize as the unofficial start of the summer season. It is a day off from work and a day to hold family celebrations with cookouts in the yard, on the beach, or at the lake. However, that is not what Memorial Day is about. Memorial Day is the day that we pause to remember the Fallen members of our Armed Forces…those who paid the last full measure in service of our great nation. Today is a day to pay respect and homage to those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect the rights and privileges that allow us to gather and enjoy those celebrations that I mentioned above. We should never forget their service and sacrifice…and we should never forget what their losses bought for us.

I never served on active duty. My time in uniform was cut short, as I’ve explained in earlier posts. However, in the brief time that I did serve, I lost 2 members of my Company. Neither was lost in combat, but service in uniform is inherently dangerous even in peace time and losses are constant. I’ve been following my classmates’ social media posts this weekend and the roll calls of our Fallen Shipmates that they’ve been posting has been heart-wrenching. At least one of our classmates was killed in an insider terrorist attack on American soil. You just never know.

As I’ve been entertaining these thoughts, I’ve had to balance them with the changes that the ongoing pandemic have required. No parades, no Memorial Service, no large-scale gatherings…just continued physical distancing and family isolation. Protective measures against the virus have made this year’s recognition of Memorial Day completely different, and it requires some reflection.

As we enter the 3rd month of this new reality, our Nation is deeply divided. Our elected officials, aspiring politicians, and citizens on both sides of the aisle and on both sides of most issues disagree about the virulence of the virus, the re-opening of the economy, our right to assemble, attending worship, and dozens of other positions. I think that on Memorial Day, it is important to remember that our rights to hold these divergent opinions is exactly what our Fallen Servicemembers fought and died to protect. As I’ve reflected this weekend, my fear is that many of them would be deeply disappointed in us if they could see how were behaving.

I don’t want this to be a political post. I just want to offer a suggestion. Whatever your beliefs on any of these (or any other) issues, remember that those on the other side enjoy the exact same rights to their opinions and beliefs. Disagreement is not a license to lose our civility. Polite and respectful discourse can still occur even when we disagree with someone. This is what our honored Fallen gave their lives to defend. We, as a nation, owe them better than we’re offering right now. We can do better.


I finished Fortitude. I liked that one very much. I’m still working on dare to lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work.

Other Reading

I need to step out of serious reading for a little while. I decided to pull on of Captain Richard Marcinko’s novel off the shelf and re-visit it. My bedtime reading has been Rogue Warrior: Designation Gold (Marcinko, Richard and Weisman, John. Rogue Warrior: Designation Gold.1997. New York: Pocket Books.)

Other Learning Opportunities

The 1st week of this period was Police Week and included National Peace Officer Memorial Day. Obviously, we couldn’t hold our traditional events and ceremonies. Instead, I video recorded my prepared remarks. I was able to upload them to YouTube, then share them with the staff at Pittsfield Community Television and they were able to broadcast them. It was a bit of a learning curve.


I’ve continued accessing remote learning opportunities for Jiu-jitsu. I added a grappling dummy to my gear to add another element to these classes.

On Tuesday night, we got called out for an Officer Involve Shooting. That derailed that night and most of the next day, but my team pulled together and even though we were restricted to remote meetings, we got through all the required follow up appointments for our personnel utilizing Zoom. I’m very proud of my team for pulling together for that.

As all of this was ramping up, my work social media accounts were frozen, due to a faulty setting in the parent account. Troubleshooting this issue and eventually fixing it by creating new pages and linking them to other accounts was brain-numbing. I got through it and learned a little bit in the process.



We’ve continued to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and each other. Date nights have been about picking great local restaurants for take-out or enjoying homemade pizza. The conversation prompt cards have been getting a workout. We’ve gotten out for some fun walks or hikes.

I’ve logged a few good rucks and some nice flexibility and mobility workouts. The other thing that I’ve managed to do during these unusual times was take care of some outstanding chores that had piled up over the winter. The garage and the shop are looking good right now.

Today, I took the opportunity to sleep in and enjoy some reading. After coffee and the news, it was time to get a workout in. I carried my gear out onto the deck and did a combined flexibility/mobility and strength/conditioning workout in the sun. After that, we went out for a start of summer ice cream. Then we came home, and I cooked burgers on the grill as our Holiday meal. Now, the sun has set, the weekend is coming to a close and it’s time to start focusing on the coming week.


That’s more than enough for now. Be well. Be healthy. See you soon.

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*


Installment 31: New Adventure, New Opportunity-The COVID Chronicles Continue

May 10, 2020

Good Sunday afternoon VFOT friends and followers. It is Operational Period 60. 2 solid months of focusing my main effort on emergency management and no foreseeable end in sight. There has been 1 positive development; my Department returned to our normal staffing schedule today. I suppose that’s something.


STEPHANIE ZOLLSHAN — THE BERKSHIRE EAGLE Pittsfield Police Chief Michael Wynn helps to unload a shipment of personal protective equipment (PPE), donated by Lenco, that filled a large armored vehicle outside of police headquarters. Tuesday, April 28, 2020.

Nothing about this is remotely normal, but I’ve decided to focus my energy on how I choose to respond to our new paradigm. What can I take away from this? What can I learn and hold onto that will make me better when we go back to what will be normal in the future? How can I take this time to grow and improve? I can’t control the situation, but I can control my response.


My Pro-reading is still off-track, but I’m getting back to some regular reading practice. dare to lead: Daring Greatly and Rising Strong at Work is still the principle title that I’m working through and I’ve read a little bit every day that I haven’t had early commitments. In addition to that, I’m nearly done with my second title, Fortitude, by Congressman Dan Crenshaw (Crenshaw, Dan. Fortitude: American Resilience in the Era of Outrage. 2020. New York: Hachette Book Group, Inc.). This one has been thought provoking and informative. I’m glad that I decided to get right into it. I’ve also listened to a few episodes of the Congressman’s podcast, Hold These Truths.

I also picked up Commander Willink’s new work, The Code. The Evaluation. The Protocols: Striving to Become an Eminently Qualified Human. I haven’t started that one yet. This week.

Other Reading

As I stated in the prior installment, less recreational book reading and more magazines and podcasts. I’ve made really good progress on the early Martyrmade podcasts about Jerusalem and am all caught up on The Thread.

Other Learning Opportunities

I’ve attended many more meetings via Zoom than I ever thought possible and have even gotten to the point where I’ve hosted a couple. I met with my senior commanders last week via the platform and then hosted a County Chiefs’ meeting. That is probably one of the things that I’m going to keep going forward, regardless of what our new reality looks like.

I’ve also made a habit of reading new blog posts from the Philosophical Fighter. He found me via this blog, and I began following him back. His most recent posts on empathy and fairness really have me thinking. I’m learning quite a bit from his writings.

Living through “lockdown” has also presented some other interesting learning opportunities. I’ve attended a couple of remote training sessions with my Jiu-jitsu professors from our Academy and participated as a guest in a class with a Professor from another Academy. This has caused me to upgrade the equipment in my home gym. When the lockdown is lifted, my workout space in my home office is going to be AMAZING! I’ve even added folding mats, so I can drill at home during these remote sessions.img_1379


Last weekend, we had a visit from my brother-in-law and his girlfriend. Entertaining family during quarantine required some adaptation, but we managed. Ordering delivery for lunch and cooking for dinner, watching movies and introducing them to the writing prompt cards…these are things that I’ll keep and hold onto when we return to our “regular” lives.d490a6d0-2d62-41ce-b6b4-85c4b55c0944

I’ve continued to ruck and do my mobility and flexibility workouts. I’ve added a little variety to my strength training with more unstable loads. These are additions that I should keep going forward as well. After all, there’s no excuse not to workout, when all I have to do is walk downstairs or out the front door.

Keeping our tradition of date night has been the most fun. Creating a date around picking a restaurant, choosing the music, creating a new cocktail, and playing games, or working with the prompt cards has been pretty cool too. Again, these are things that we should keep going forward.

Monday was Star Wars Day (May the Fourth). C wanted to celebrate by watching one of the movies (she hasn’t seen most of them). It was fun to watch it and answer all her questions.

Another cool thing that happened last weekend was I took delivery of my new G-ride. Its always fun to get a new sled, but this one is different. It’s a hybrid. This is taking some getting used to and it has been interesting.

Well, that’s enough for now. Be well. Be healthy. See you soon.

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*