Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Hero's Choice

"The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena." Theodore Roosevelt

Jeffco Sergeant Dave Baldwin's death last Sunday was a painful reminder of the capricious role chance plays in our work lives. No amount of training, discipline or experience could have altered the outcome. A blind hill, the inexplicable driving mistake of an oncoming motorist, high speeds. Sgt. Baldwin was presented with a dilemma he could not solve.

The temptation to label his loss as pointless obscures the quiet heroism with which he lived his life. Twenty-seven years ago Dave Baldwin raised his hand and swore an oath to protect the citizens of Jefferson County. He didn't ask for an exemption from the pitiless rules by which luck plays its game. The tools of his trade, in fact, spoke volumes about the environment into which he willingly ventured.

It is the "Uncritical willingness to face danger," wrote Tom Wolfe, that marks a person with "The Right Stuff." Working traffic on a busy stretch of treacherous highway on a motorcycle, in an effort to save the lives of others, is the right stuff.

I read a post this morning, written by a friend. In it he admitted to selfishness that he went home to his family at the end of watch, and Sgt. Baldwin did not go home to his. The brothers and sisters of law enforcement all think like that. Their first thought is for the welfare of others. That's what makes them heroes.

Thank you, Sergeant Baldwin, for choosing to serve.

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