Thursday, February 5, 2015

~ This Town Is Our Town ~

" This town is our town , it is so glamorous  " , A little light hearted Go-Go's circa 81' to get this post going . I've written somewhat in a comedic tone in past posts concerning my town . I doubt it is unlike many other small towns , but for those of us that have grown up here , lived here, or returned to here , there really is no where like it . Most of the time the talk of the town is only worthy of publication in the "arrests" or "gossip" sections of media . And yes , our print media prints who has been arrested and why . I didn't know that wasn't normal until I left my home town for a bigger city . I am sad that most of the time our town is only in state news when it is because of something negative . Today was a day that I wish those who only know the negative could have witnessed .

This is the third time in the last three years that I have seen the residents of my county rally for their neighbor . You can click here to read my previous post . I am sure it has happened on other occasions, either when I was too young to realize or when I was away in school or what not . Either way , there was something about today's show of love that just had me feeling emotional and proud . Last week one of our local officers was involved in a wreck on his way to respond to an accident that claimed the life of several , including a father and child . I can only imagine that this officer's mind was focused on getting to the people who needed help when his car was struck . For several days the town was kept up to date via Facebook , local new and word of mouth on his medical status . I believe we all , whether we knew him personally or not , drew a breath of immediate mourning when word got out that he had passed . It has been non-stop support via social media for this officer , his family and the family of the victims from the original accident . Someone even began a " kick starter "esq campaign to help the original victims family raise funds for the two funerals they had to plan . I cannot imagine what any of these families are feeling today . Multiple lives , multiple families all connected in an impossible way .

Today as I drove through town , mindlessly thinking on my own stresses , the errands I had to run , etc. I kept wondering why all the road side parking lots and embankments where lined with cars , balloons , ribbons and even cops . It had completely slipped my mind that today would be the day our town said good-bye to one of it's sons . As I pulled into a parking lot I decided to just sit in my car in line with all the others and give my respects as well . It was 1:30ish and still no signs of the expected caravan . Local stations had let everyone know that around 12:30 Officer Starrett would be driven through town with various law enforcement escorting him prior to his burial so that the community could say good-bye . As minutes passed I couldn't help but think about the family , close friends and co-workers at the church saying their intimate good-bye's and love you's . How could a time limit have been put on that ?! It would seem that the cars surrounding mine had similar thoughts considering none of us left after the original expected time clicked by on our clocks . If anything it gave everyone more time to find a spot along the road . I thought about all the people who took their lunch break , took time out of their  "to-do's", or travels to show their respects . The folks that would be watching via live stream or later on through the t.v. news . I found myself wiping away tears . I found myself hurting for the wife of this man . I wondered what would she think on this last drive through town with her husband ? What would she think as she glanced all of town lined along the main road ? Would we bring her any comfort at all ? Is it even possible in this situation ?
Pic is from Memoriam FB Page
Arches are local Power Board trucks.
Small town love.
I heard them before I saw them . Several miles before they got into view you could hear the varied sirens getting closer and closer . I got out of my car along with several others and stood in attention to the caravan headed our way . I noticed that the officer attending to the 4-way stop was out of his car and standing at a salute . Statuesque . I noticed several people with their video cameras, and camera phones taking pictures as everyone passed by . I didn't count , but it seemed as if there had been dozens of law enforcement and service vehicles from neighboring counties as well as our own escorting Office Starrett through town . As the sirens got further away and the car carrying Officer Starrett passed by I just couldn't stop the tears . " I didn't even know him !! ", I kept saying to myself . I truly feel that after today anyone who viewed his ride through town can no longer say that . We may not have had the chance to know him personally , but what I witnessed today told me a lot about who he was . When someone passes we of course speak of the good that was in their life . Today's showing was a huge testimony to the fact that there wasn't just good IN his life ,but that he used his life to make sure there was good in other peoples lives . All week there have been stories of his charity work , kindness as an officer , work serving his church , etc . It wasn't something he seemed to do for himself  or for status . He genuinely seemed to love his community . I think that if given a choice , he would've chosen no other way to leave than through that of serving his community . Today reminds me how much all of those acts of service/kindness matter , especially in a small town where everyone knows everyone . This kind of loss doesn't come around often and a loss for one of us is a loss for all of us .
Pic is fr in Memoriam FB Page.
Jacksboro Middle School shows their love
for Officer Starrett & his family.
At the end of Officer Starretts drive through town I began to ask the Lord for several things . I prayed that his wife would find some peace , solace and comfort after seeing all the members of community lined up out of respect for her husband and her family . I prayed that this showing of respect not just from our local community, but from those of neighboring cities, counties and states would be a testament to other law enforcement officials of how to lead and more importantly of how to serve . People lined up today not just because he was an officer of the law , but because he helped their family have a Christmas , made a seat for them on his pew at church , or handled them well in a professional situation . People lined up not just because they knew him personally , but because of the reputation he attained while serving . They lined up because it would seem that he didn't just talk about what needed to be done , but he did what needed to be done . I would be willing to bet that any family that participated in "shop with a cop" had someone out there to represent them today . I prayed for the other families involved in the accidents of that day . That this show of love for one family would not over shadow or allow us to forget the other families that are left in need of extra prayers and hugs . I prayed that our community would hold on to that sense of togetherness they showed today while lined along the road . People say a lot about this town , but something that goes unmentioned far too often is that of the hearts of its people . Everyone has a story . We can't walk about as if ours is the only one . Thank you Officer Starrett for being a good example of a thoughtful and giving life . I hope we all find our selves a little bit kinder , a little bit more giving and tolerant as we take up the slack from the person we've lost . No one will replace you officer, but it seems that it is your end of watch , sir . RIP .

To see/read Officer Starretts obituary or community posts in remembrance of , you can click here to go directly to Officer Starretts public Facebook page or here for his In Memoriam Facebook Page . End of watch 1-30-15 . RIP .

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