The Real Heroes
As my career draws to a close, I've had chance to reflect on what really mattersBy Kelly DeVoll | Dec 14, 2017
As of this writing I am 225 days from retirement. I’ve spent the past 28-plus years serving two different communities and have loved the challenges through the years. For the vast majority of that time I have had the same beautiful girl by my side! She comforts me when I am sad, strengthens me when I am weak, keeps me grounded when I feel full of myself. She is my rock!
But recently the relationship has changed …
Not the relationship between her and me. Nope. That’s as strong as ever. It’s the relationship between her and my job that’s on shaky ground!
You see, she’s never been the helicopter wife of a police officer. She’s only ridden with me twice in the 24 years we have been together. She doesn’t know the jargon and might not be able to tell you what my radio number is right now. It’s not that she doesn’t care. Quite the opposite.
She cares so much she has always separated herself from my job and the dangers when I walk out the door. Then when I come home from work I’m just her husband or the father of her children. I’m not a Lieutenant! I’m “honey,” “baby,” or some other pet name. I have no patrol to carry out or well-fair concern to go to. I don’t have to run out the door to a domestic disturbance and intervene in the lives of complete strangers. I’m the guy who has to finish the siding on the house or mow the grass or take the garbage out or fix the toilet or—you get the picture.
As my days on the job are dwindling she watches each day with anticipation and anxiety. She avoids discussion, but I see it in her eyes. I hear it in her voice. I feel it in her touch. She wishes and prays that these final 227 days pass with no harm coming to her husband. Each time the news comes down of a brother or sister in blue falling in the line of duty it hits her harder than ever before.
I showed her a video that moved me the other day. Produced by the North Richland Hills (Texas) Police Department, it was a tribute to police officers set to Disturbed’s version of the song The Sound of Silence. It’s very touching and emotional, but I thought nothing of showing it to her. So I was a little surprised when she handed me the phone and said, “I can’t watch this.”
It was at that point I FINALLY grasped the reality of the true sacrifice my beautiful bride has made for all these years. My eyes are now wide open!
She knows I’m not going to sit in my office and ride out these last 225 days. I probably could, but it’s contrary to the oath I took and my work ethic. I believe that avoiding dangerous situations is what she wants, just as she knows it is impossible. Goes with the territory.
Through the years I have, as have most officers, been referred to as hero. We get more than our fair share of praise even in these divisive times. But the REAL heroes to me are the wonderful and amazing wives, husbands, partners, daughters, sons, moms, dads, and all the other loved ones who have watched from afar, waited anxiously for us to return home, been patient with us and our moods when they never fully understood the cause—those who have loved us through thick and thin.
To my beautiful wife—I love and adore you, now more than ever—and will do everything I can to get through these next 225 days as safely as possible! YOU are my hero.