I know – two posts in two days – but it was important for me to talk about today after it happened.
A few days ago I was contacted by my Chief (yep, I still think of him as MY Chief) and asked if we were attending the annual meeting at the police department this week. I told him that we could certainly be there, and I made arrangements around sick kids so that we could be at the department today.
As usual, I am always so happy to be at the department and be with this group of people – the people that have been a huge part in carrying us to this day. All of the officers from the Savage PD were in attendance at the meeting today. As we entered, it was to the warm greetings that usual occur when Frank enters a room of his peers.
I encouraged Frank to sit with his team, instead of back with me. It gave me the opportunity to sit back and let Frank be Frank – without him defaulting to me for cues and conversation. I know he can hold his own during a conversation with anyone, but I think sometimes it is easier to let me do the talking (because as we all know, I can talk all darn day).
As the meeting began, there was the usual introduction to the goals and accomplishments of the department. I knew that this was going to be an amazing time, and I tried to pay attention to this moment, as I have to so many others in the past 14 months. I started to feel my heart race a bit more as the meeting shifted towards the awards, and to discuss the year that has passed.
Captain Simon began talking about determination and strength, fight and honor. He talked about the team member that almost died, and fought back against death to return to his team. The team member that before January 2, 2012, worked hard, worked out hard, and pushed himself to be the best person that he could be. The man that was saved partly because of how hard he worked himself before the accident, and who is back working himself even harder now.
Officer Frank Mackall – saved by his team, using his strength to drive himself back to them – was awarded the Purple Heart today.
Minutes later, a group of officers were called to the front. These people, with their strength, determination, and never ending spirit to save their Brother, are part of the heroes that saved Frank’s life. This group – the first on the scene – are true Brothers, giving everything in that moment to make him feel safe, to encourage him to hold on, and to triage the situation to get him out of the car.
In the last week, I have heard that determination for myself, watching and listening to the video and audio of the accident. I could hear with each passing moment the fight that this group of men used to bring my husband to this moment. Today.
Sergeant Terry Bebeau. Officer Andrew Dahmes. Officer Eric Jech. Officer Joel Kanz. Officer Kyle Klapperick. Officer Andrew Reed.
Brothers. Officers. Heroes.
The meeting may have ended, and the people at the department dispersed to their own families and homes, but I will not forget the moments from today. This moment – to see Frank receive such an amazing recognition, and his team receive the acknowledgement they deserve – will be held close to my heart. I don’t need a photograph to remember today. What I have home with me right now is the memory of this day, and another glimpse of who Frank wants to be.
Eleven months and counting. Eleven months to recover, to find himself, to reconnect our family. Eleven months of focus toward one goal.
To return to his Brothers. The Officers. His Heroes.