May 30, 2021
Good Sunday afternoon VFOT friends and followers. It is a cold, dreary Sunday here in Western Mass. It is also the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend. Today is not a happy day. In fact, it is quite a sad one for me. In addition to the time would normally spend reflecting on our Fallen this weekend, I lost a Brother last night. His death is hitting me hard.
I got the word via text message late, last night, and the news crushed my soul. We weren’t all that close. We didn’t spend time together socially outside of work, but we came up together. We were teammates on the SRT, serving as Firearms Instructors for our fellow team members. We served as team leaders together. For a long time, we ran 1 and 2 in the stack, reading off each other’s moves. Eventually, he too became a Chief. We all thought that was hilarious, because he’d always been pretty critical of the bosses. However, there was some unanticipated turnover in his PD, his community needed him, and he stepped up. That was just his way. He was also one of the most irreverent and caustic wise-crackers that I have ever known…and he never missed an opportunity to bust my stones.
I had a couple of places to be today, and I just couldn’t. I needed time to rest and reflect and just hold him in my memories. I needed to lose myself in a book for a little while to keep the emotions from overwhelming me. I haven’t found my tears yet. I’m sure that they will come at some point. But, today, the sky is crying for my teammate, and his wife and children, and his fellow officers. I’m going to miss you, Jeff. ‘Til Valhalla Brother. You rest easy now. We have the watch.
I finally finished Transforming Leadership, by Professor James MacGregor Burns. I’m not going to go into much more detail about this title here. Let me just say that this book was inspirational. Professor Burns clearly had strong opinions about what problems leadership should be directed toward solving, and I think I agree with him. As I’m starting to look down the road toward my next chapter, I’ll have to give some thought to accepting his challenge.
Having finished that, I turned to a title recommended by a friend, Between the World and Me, by Ta-nehisi Coates. I’m only a few pages into that one, since I didn’t take it with me to my conference. I’ll have to revisit it in a later post.
I’m still plugging away at Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers, by Robert Sapolsky (Sapolsky, Robert, M. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. 2004. New York: Holt Paperbacks.) I had to step away from it for a few days. It is pretty technical, and it was getting to me. I set it aside and lost myself by re-reading one of Sean Parnell’s novels. I wrapped that this morning and back at Zebras now.
Other Learning Opportunities
Last week I had to zip out to the range and put in some qualification scores. Our in-service blocks are full of new material and there weren’t enough hours to cover the material and record qualification scores, so Training pivoted and set it up so that personnel could get out to the range and shoot their qual courses either on duty, or right before/after an assigned shift. It worked out pretty well.
This week I was scheduled to travel out to the Cape to attend the annual Massachusetts Major Cities Chiefs’ retreat. C is still working remotely, so she came with. We managed to piggy-back a little fun and rest onto the work trip…and I attended all of my sessions, so I’ll take that as a win.
Some Stuff About Me
In his book Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement, Dr. Kevin Gilmartin describes the unfortunate phenomenon of “I Ustas.” As in, “I used to” hunt, fish, travel, run, etc. As work becomes more overwhelming we turn from our recreational hobbies more and more, until they’re in our past. I am definitely suffering from the “I Ustas.” I used to rock climb and teach rock climbing. I used to SCUBA dive and teach it as well. I used to sail large boats offshore. As I’ve gotten older and more wrapped up in my career, each of these things has fallen into my distant past. I have other hobbies and interests now. I haven’t surrendered all of my outside interests. However, I do miss those activities…particularly teaching them and sharing my interests with others. I need to figure out how to revisit that.
We have had some fun. Up until this weekend, our Spring weather has been outstanding. That opened up a lot of outdoor dining and beverage choices.
Last week, date night was at Ye Olde Forge. The evening was beautiful and beer and wings on the back deck was a perfect choice. That Friday, we ordered delivery from the Shire Breu Haus and enjoyed it on our back deck with music on the Bose. After that I lit an early fire in the Solo Stove. It was a nice night.
Saturday was a training day, followed by some household chores. I hit Muay Thai, Jiu-jitsu and open mat rolling. On my way home I hit the hardware store for some improvement to our deck. After the chores were done, we headed over the mountain to the Roaring 20s Brewery to sample some of their stouts. On our way back into town, we decided to head to Thistle and Mirth for ramen for dinner.
Sunday, C and I took a nice walk through the neighborhood. When we got home, I ran some errands in her new car. On Monday, I treated myself and replaced my stolen PFD and kayak paddle. Maybe now I’ll get back out on the water.
On Wednesday, we headed out to Falmouth for our date night and the start of the retreat. Date night was ocean view dining at the hotel restaurant, Red’s.
We made our way home Friday afternoon. Our friends had been dog-sitting the pup, so we had dinner and cocktails at their home when we went to pick her back up.
The dojo is closed for the holiday weekend and maintenance, so no training this weekend. Instead, we attended a holiday cookout and gathering at the home of a local patron who likes to support 1st responders. It was a nice time to kick back and relax with some colleagues.
Now, the afternoon is coming to a close and the evening will soon be upon us. This post is done and I can spend some time remembering my friend and preparing to remember our Fallen tomorrow.
“We don’t know them all, but we do owe them all.” Please take some time to reflect on those who gave the last full measure, so that we can live a life of freedom. That is enough for now, so until next time…
Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*
Remember, if you need supplements, Jiu-jitsu gear, jeans, or boots, check out Origin’s offerings here: (https://originmaine.com/?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF&utm_source=affiliate) for 10% off.
If you train jiu-jitsu, utilize dietary supplements as part of your fitness routine, or simply want to support a great American company that’s doing amazing things to bring manufacturing back to our country take a look at the requirements to become an ambassador and register at this link (https://origin.goaffpro.com/create-account?ref=xkTdZzgIyBpUF).
“Victory Force Options Training is a participant in the GoAffPro Affiliate Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to the partner site.”