July 2017 is officially here! The year is already half over and the summer is on target to be a hot one. The mercury is rising and as the song goes, it's “Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot”!
As July 4th approaches, I hope we all take a moment to step back to reflect on why this country was created, and remember the sacrifices that were made that make this the best country to live in. In 1776, our founding fathers wanted to break away from the English monarchy, put governing power back in the hands of the people and establish a democracy in America. This led to The Revolutionary War, which led to us the earning the freedoms we enjoy today. Unfortunately, these same freedoms are at times taken for granted, and throughout the years some have attempted to take these rights away from us. This Country has endured many wars, but the perseverance of the people of this country has, and will continue to keep this Country the great nation that it is. So as we enjoy our independence this month with fireworks and barbeques, let’s not forget about the sacrifices made by so many that keeps this Country the land of the free.
Speaking of heroes and sacrifices, I had the honor of attending this year's “Top Cops” awards dinner in Washington, D.C. during police week. This year’s “Top Cop” recipient for the National Association of Police Organization was Officer Kelsey Francemore, of the Syracuse Police Department. Officer Francemore responded to a scene of armed gang rivals who were engaged in gunfire. As mobs of people ran away from the gun fire, Officer Francemore responded, and exchanged gunfire with an armed subject. As she approached to disarm him, the angry mob turned on her. They were punching and kicking her, tearing her uniform and threating her life. Another responding officer could not see her under the pile of people attacking her. Yes, you read that right she responded to the mob of people to save their lives, who in turned attempted to take her life. Incredible!! At the ceremony Officer Francemore paid tribute to her colleagues, and with a smile said, “Her father never wanted her to be a police officer.”
Then there was Oregon State Trooper, Nic Cederberg. Who on Christmas day responded to a scumbag who had just killed his wife, and after a police chase, the scumbag crashed into Trooper Cederberg’s police car, and a gunfight ensued. Trooper Cederberg was shot 12 times, refused to die, and continued the gunfight until the scumbag ran into the woods, and a attempted to ambush other officers. The scumbag was killed. Trooper Cederberg survived but has a bullet next to his spine. These were just a few of the heroes from a great event in Washington, D.C.
The Dade County PBA Gala was another great event. This year’s “PBA Top Cop” was MDPD Officer Diana Castillo. Sometimes Officers find themselves in situations that they cannot control. Such as a traffic stop that goes bad, to having to make a split second decision that can change your life, or the life of another. Officer Castillo did not have to make a split second decision when she found out that a fellow Officer was in need of a lifesaving kidney transplant. Without hesitation she stepped up and made a remarkable act of kindness by donating one of her kidneys to save the life of another Officer. These are stories you do not hear about but which will restore your hope for humanity. We here at the PBA say “THANK YOU” to Officer Castillo for your unselfishness to help another Officer it does not go unnoticed. We see you, and say “Thank You”. To all of the Top Cops out there we here at the PBA, see you, and “Thank You”, for your dedication and commitment to our profession. It does not go unnoticed. Congratulations to all the brave men and woman who protect our community.
On a final note, I would like to recognize a very good man who has lost his fight with cancer. His name was Bill Enright and he was my brother in-law and beloved husband to my sister, Officer Mary Ann Stahl. Bill was one of those guys who would, without hesitation, volunteer for any PBA event as needed. He also volunteered for other worthy groups such as POAT, Hands on Miami, Here's Hope, and many cancer events, to name a few. He will be missed, but I know God must've needed a few more volunteers in Heaven. He got a good one!! God speed, Bill Enright. Til we meet again…
See you next month. Stay safe!