By Eugenia Jones
Today (Thursday, January 9, 2020) is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day (L.E.A.D.). “The Voice,” along with our readers, are taking this opportunity to recognize the dedication of law enforcement in McCreary County and across the nation. The following reader responses demonstrate just how much law enforcement officers go above and beyond to serve and protect. Yes, today is National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day-so don’t forget to say “thank you” to our local heroes.
Our readers shared their experiences with jobs well done by law enforcement officers.
“When I was pregnant with one of my children, I was traveling with my dad in Kentucky. It was very hot, and we had car difficulties. A Kentucky state trooper stopped to help us. He called for help and put me and my baby in his air conditioned car. I have forgotten a lot of the details but remember how grateful I felt for his kindness.” – Katherine O’Dell Cipriano
“I would like to recognize Federal Law Enforcement Officer Tim Grooms with the United States Forest Service unit assigned to McCreary County. Tim has done many law enforcement aspects for McCreary County. He and his K9 partner assist with search and rescue missions as well as doing home and vehicle searches for drugs, guns, etc. Tim Grooms has lived and worked in McCreary County for a lot of years but may not be as easily recognized for his duties in McCreary County since he mostly works alongside his faithful canine partner in law enforcement. He has been an asset in many situations in McCreary County.” – Odell Smith
“I can say I have had both good and bad experiences with Kentucky State Police as all people do. However, there were two who went above and beyond for me. I am very fortunate to know these fine men. I was nine months pregnant and went to the bathroom as my firstborn was playing. He had put on my big nightshirt, and unbeknownst to me, had slipped past the baby gate and was going down the stairs. He got hung up on the landing steps rail and couldn’t breathe. He had basically hung himself with the nightshirt and rail. He was not making any noise, and I could not hear him. When I came out of the bathroom, I saw him suspended by the shirt on the rail and freaked out. I was desperate to get to him. I fell on the baby gate, and nine months pregnant, slid down the steps trying to get my baby who couldn’t breathe and was turning blue. I was afraid I had hurt myself and started banging and kicking on the wall of my apartment and screaming. My neighbor heard and called 911. I was doing CPR when two state troopers arrived minutes before the ambulance. The door was locked so the trooper popped it open with his boot. The troopers entered and took over for me-one doing compressions and the other breathing. They didn’t give up. One of the troopers said, “Lil man, please come back to us. Your momma needs you. Please Lord, don’t take this child.” Suddenly one of the troopers yelled out and my baby gave off this pathetic wail and then an ear piercing shriek. His life was back as these two troopers didn’t give up. I was in tears when the ambulance and fire truck arrived. The ambulance took us both because I needed checked out. One of the troopers came along to help keep me calm and to make sure my firstborn would have someone with him while I was being cared for. We both were fine. The story didn’t end though. That weekend, the two troopers came to check on us and see if we needed anything. They sat and talked to me and played with my firstborn. They both agreed it was one of the scariest moments they had seen. I told them I was so grateful. They also brought us a gift-a new and better baby gate that my Houdini child couldn’t take down. Former Kentucky State Trooper Phillip Hayes is the one who gave CPR, and I believe the other was Craig Reed but I’m not sure. It happened almost 15 ½ years ago. My firstborn was 16 months old, and I gave birth to my second child two weeks later. Those two KSP troopers were both blessings to me that day.” -Jessie Lynne Matthews Meadows
“Secret Santa traffic stops!” – Michele Wilson Jones
“My two year old thinks the world of police officers! KSP “Tater” Jones gave him some toys and let him sit in his car one time and then Tom Smith and Randy Waters with Greg Chaney gave him a teddy bear on two occasions. He cherishes them! I love that he isn’t afraid of police officers. These officers go out of their way to make children feel safe.” -Allie Jones
“Secret Santa KSP delivering gift cards and Polar Express tickets in place of tickets. Supported through the community!” – Jett Suzanne
“Lt. Chris Hosick with the Tennessee Highway Patrol is someone I wish to recognize. In December 2018, my wife and I were headed home from Texas. A job opportunity in Texas had fallen through, and we were down to our last few dollars. We had rented a car and were on our way to Nashville where another job awaited. We had made it to Lexington, Tennessee on I-40 when we ran out of fuel. We sat there for two to three hours with truckers, local cops, other motorists, and tow trucks passing us by. As the day turned to dusk, I started to panic. We had no way to run the heater, and I was worried about keeping our dog warm. I was very happy when a Chevy Tahoe eased up behind our rental with a roof rack of blue lights lit. We explained our situation to Lt. Hosick-no money, no cell phone, and basically out of options. He told us to hang tight-he was working on a plan. He found a five gallon jerrycan and filled it full and brought it back to us. We followed him to the next exit on that gas. He used his own personal funds for a $20 fuel purchase and gave us twenty dollars to eat on. I am forever grateful for his compassion and concern. I learned that day not all heroes wear capes. A few wear campaign hats and tan uniforms. Lt. Hosick is the true definition of “to protect and serve.” He did say he was involved in his church to the extent possible. To me, Trooper Hosick is the truest definition of a practicing Christian: compassionate, empathetic, caring, and willing to help others in need. The world needs more good people like him.” – Jon Erik and Sarah Emily Strunk
“KSP Craig Reed came to check on my mamaw when the home health people accidentally tripped her security system while they were there. We had already contacted Silent Guard and told them she was OK. and they cancelled the call. Officer Reed showed up and said he wanted to come out anyway just to make sure. He is a blessing for sure.” -Jessica Hicks
“In 1982, I was in the Army and my wife was seven months pregnant with my son. We had taken my father-in-law from Fort Sill, Oklahoma to Texas so he could see Texas for the first time. My truck’s oil light came on as we were driving back to Fort Sill from Texas. I checked the oil, and it was fine. Being young, I thought maybe a loose wire or another issue was causing the “oil low” light to be on. I kept driving north. We had just crossed the Red River from Texas into Oklahoma when my truck engine blew up. Nothing but a flat interstate was in sight. I was worried about my pregnant wife. We didn’t have any water and no way to keep her cool. Temperatures were rising. I started walking-trying to figure out what to do. After a couple of miles, an elderly gentleman stopped and gave me a ride. After getting help and getting back to my wife and father-in-law, I found them hot but OK. They had bottles of water and snacks. My wife told me as soon as I left, a Texas State Trooper crossed the state line and checked to see if everything was OK. He left water and said he would come back every thirty minutes to check until help arrived. This was such a selfless act. He didn’t HAVE to do this-he wasn’t even in his own state. His desire to help was stronger than his concern with being a state trooper in the wrong state. My very pregnant wife and her father were at the mercy of this professional and God. I never knew who the trooper was. I wish I did. I’d love to thank him for protecting my family with compassion. He didn’t have to, but he did anyway. That’s just one story I have about the humanity and compassion of just one police officer who was willing to help.” – Dave Gilreath
“Bob West is honest.” – James Tapley
“I would like to thank Tom Smith. When I had my wreck he was right there holding my hand and calming me down and making the right decisions for me when I had to be flown out of here.” -Debra Sierens