Courage is being scared to death... and saddling up anyway.
The honor of teaching in the police academy is humbling. Most of the young men and women sitting in the classroom were not born when I began my career in 1979. Several were beginning elementary school when I was promoted to sergeant. Teaching them - lending not just expertise but experience - is an honor and privilege.
Nothing compares, however, to the society with the experienced men and women who arrive to help. Many academy classes require role players and facilitators. These are people who do the grunt work, the down and dirty close quarter instruction. They look the recruits in the eye and pass on wisdom that only late nights facing danger teaches. That so many quality individuals have stepped forward to help speaks little about me, but a lot about them.
One in particular.... She was badly wounded recently, recovering through grit, determination and courage. Two of us were discussing shirts for my instructors when she ambled by, aluminum crutches in contrast to her colorful clothing. She paused.
"Can I get one that says 'I got shot and all I got was this lousy t-shirt?'" she asked.
Really, the men and women who surround me in this profession impress me beyond my meager attempts to describe them.