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Thursday, December 14, 2017

Holiday Stories

The City of Watertown decorates one of
their fire engines for the holidays.
It seems we remember the calls that happen on nights with a full moon or during the holiday season with even more clarity. As we have done in the past, we want to share a few “Holiday Stories”:

  • Recently, local news sources reported about the Coon Rapids police officer who encountered a family with no money and who planned to sleep in their car on a 10-degree night. The officer was afraid the mother, father, and five small children would freeze if they slept in the car. He was not able to find a place for them in an emergency shelter. The officer got them to a local hotel and paid for the room himself. He has asked the department not to identify him by name.

  • I was at the City of Savage’s main fire station a few days before Thanksgiving. Just as the training session was getting started, there was a knock at the door. It was a woman from the neighborhood who was bringing fresh-baked pies to the firefighters to thank them for their service to the community. She seemed embarrassed that the firefighters were thanking her. 

  • I worked for a police chief who had obtained a confession from a bank robber earlier in his career. As with most interviews, the two got to know each other a little bit during their conversation. The chief had a style that made people want to talk to him—even bank robbers. The robber eventually went to federal prison, and every Christmas the chief got a Christmas card from the man in prison. He would post it on his office door and smile.

  • Christmas Eve in 1983 was particularly cold and windy. I remember the high was -9F, and overnight it dropped to -25F. The wind and cold made it painful to be outside. It was so cold that churches canceled their Christmas Eve services due to the weather. I was working an overnight shift, and it was rare to see another car on the road. Then I drove up on a beat-up old car with a flat tire. The car was on the shoulder of the highway with a mom and three kids inside. If it is possible to look poor, they looked poor. They were trying to get to a relative’s house two hours away. They had no cash, but they had a spare tire, and it had air in it.

    An officer from a neighboring city, Dave, drove up to check on me. Apparently I was not hearing my radio, as it was buried under a couple of layers of quilted vests and my winter jacket. I had not responded to the dispatcher checking on me, and they sent Dave. Upon hearing this family’s plight, Dave said, “Shall we go for it?”

    With that being said, we moved the family into the two police cars and began to change the tire. It was so cold that Dave would work a minute and then run back to his car, then I would run to the car and pick up where Dave left off. It was often just a few turns of the lug wrench and then back to the car to warm up. We kept that tag-team system going and would tell each other how much progress we made as we passed each other. The kids loved it and laughed as they watched us race back and forth. We had them on their way again in about a half hour.

    Dave has retired, and when I saw him recently we reminisced about the family with the flat tire. Imagine all the stuff we had seen and experienced in our two police careers, and it is interesting that we like to remember the family with the flat tire on Christmas Eve. 

Up next: A Dividend for LMCIT Members!

Stay safe and happy holidays,
Rob

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