Sunday, December 15, 2013

Game Warden Files--Acknowledgements

Were this a book, this would have gone in the beginning; but since this has grown from a couple random thoughts to many, many blog posts, it seems like this is time to do it.
The first person, and certainly the most important person has to be my wife, the love of my life, Peggy. She saw me through the transition from a truck driver who came home covered with feed dust, to a Village of Chatham police officer and State Park Patrol Officer to the point where I achieved something I'd wanted for many years: I became an ECO. Without her saying "go for it" and her constant encouragement that it was--or would be--worth it, it would have been all too easy to pack it in, or never to have begun the journey at all. She also helped me keep focused on the important things in life: faith and family. It would have been so easy, especially in the early days as an ECO when I was very caught up in the workload, to let that fall behind.
Next of course are our kids. Without really knowing it, they lived the adventure too. They saw me come and go at all hours, interacted with lots of colorful characters and got to experience some of my activities first-hand.
Kudos also to my parents. In our couple years in Brooklyn, they would drive down for the day and bring dinner--enough to keep us fed for days. In a day when our rent was more than a two week paycheck, that came in pretty handy! They also provided respite when we needed OUT OF THE CITY for a couple days. Even though we loved the excitement of the city, our friends, neighbors and church, sometimes we needed to "get outtahere," and they always welcomed us home.Their example (now at 70 years of marriage) of how to keep it going in all things was important for both of us, along with the work ethic instilled in me by watching them as I grew up.
My first captain, Dennis O'Reilly was a class act and I learned much from him. We had been friends before either of us entered the world of law enforcement, and were able to continue the friendship even as I worked for him. He put a lot of faith in me and went to bat for me when I needed it. He ended his career when he lost his battle with cancer--and his funeral was among the toughest I'd ever attended.
My first supervisor, mentioned occasionally in the posts, Jim (AKA Jay) Molinelli, was a wonderful guy. From him I learned the ability to separate the rank from the person. Even though we found times to disagree on the job, we always ended the disagreement and had coffee--and he always bought! It was the Jay Molinelli Seat of Your Pants Boat School that taught me how to run a boat and to navigate...and I always got safely back to port. Sadly, we lost him to cancer also, and that was another tough funeral.
I had several good supervisors through the years, and a couple clinkers, but one more stands out. Scott Florence was a rash young lieutenant when I met him, but he well understood how to handle older seasoned officers. I can honestly say that in spite of my years of seniority over  him, he made me a better officer--and we had some great fun working together. He's still climbing the ranks within the agency, and I wish him all the best.
A major force in my life early in my career was our pastor from our years on Staten Island, Bob DeRitter. He was as good a pastor as I've ever had, shared his life and family with us and really helped me to set the spiritual course of my life. Like Dennis and Jay, who also lived on Staten Island, we lost him to cancer also. We still have much contact with his family and cherish the memories. His funeral, though tough, was a true celebration of passing.
A few other clergymen have had impact on my spiritual life and need to be mentioned: Dr. Allen (Doug) Ferry) a long-time friend whose interest in my development has been a treasure to me; Frank Westcott, my pastor for many years and a master of humility and gentleness--he could teach classes in it; and my current pastors, Rick Klueg and George Hopper, two great men who encourage and build me up (along with the other men of the church) on a continual basis. All of these pastors share my love of Jesus Christ, are exemplary in the way they show that love to others and have shared many special times with me. Thankfully, I still have them with me.
It would be difficult to mention all of those within the job who contributed to my success, such as it was. It would likely be simpler to list those who served as an impediment; but that would serve no purpose at all. I'll end this by saying that the men and women of the Department of Environmental Conservation Police were, almost without exception the greatest law enforcement officers on earth. Many member of the Fulton County Sheriff's Office worked closely with me and together we handled many investigation and the men and women of the local NYS Police stationed in the area helped often as well. My thanks go to those folks also. A final note on a recent loss to the EnCon Police community. Tom Graham, only recently retired, lost a short battle with cancer also. Tommy, I still owe you a couple office duty days!

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