Monday, January 25, 2010

When Grown Men Cry

I’m sure sometime when I was growing up I probably wanted to be a policeman or a fireman, although I can’t remember for sure if that was the case. Still I’ve had a very healthy respect for the job that they do.

Last week’s “pinning ceremony,” as someone aptly put it, was probably a first for Fond du Lac. The first time the City held a joint “pinning ceremony” for the police and fire departments. In this particular case it involved the new assistant chiefs for each department.

Fond du Lac Assistant Police Chief Kevin Lemke, and Assistant Fire Chiefs Steve Beer, Randy Cunzenheim and Todd Janquart earned that promotion through their experience and devotion to the job. If you live in a community long enough you’re lucky to get to know a few of them.

Kevin Lemke I’ve known since moving to Fond du Lac. I know he likes piloting, biking, and is a whiz at computers. Steve Beer has had some hard luck on the job with injuries, but always mends and comes back for more. Randy Cunzenheim has been able to secure nearly $1 million in grants for the department and I recall one incident off-duty where he even helped a neighbor out who met with some tough times. Todd I don’t really know that well, but Fire Chief Peter O’Leary and fellow department members speak highly of him.

One thing that was very apparent at the ceremony was how important family and friends are to each. Kevin’s father, a veteran of 29 years on the Fond du Lac Police Department, pinned his badge on him and made a joke at his son’s expense. Todd’s sons and wife took part in his pinning and their pride was obvious. The same could be said for Steve’s family. Randy had friend and mentor, former Fire Battalion Chief, Toby Leeds do the pinning for him.

Less than a hundred people were on hand to see a ceremony, the likes of which the City may never see again. It was one occasion when grown men were allowed to cry. For men who don’t flinch in the line of duty only being in the company of family and close friends can move them to tears. That’s not a weakness when you are willing to put your life on the line for the protection of others.

Pictured from L-R; Kevin Lemke, Steve Beer, Randy Cunzenheim, Todd Janquart, and Fond du Lac City Council President Tim Lakin. Photo by Terry Lemke.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Elway Ending

Will Brett Favre get the Elway Ending he's seeking, retirement after a second Super Bowl win? I'm not as big a Favre fan as when he played with the Packers, but it's an interesting story line.

The NFL would probably like a Vikings-Colts Super Bowl matchup because then you can tout two starting quarterbacks with 7 MVP trophies between them.

It's also ironic that to get to the Super Bowl Favre will have to win at the Super Dome, the scene of his Super Bowl triumph with the Green Bay Packers.

Win or lose it should be an interesting NFC Championship Game this weekend and as a Packer's fan I'm torn. As a green and gold fan I'm almost obligated to root against the Vikings. It also would be really nice to see the Saints go to their first Super Bowl.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Special Delivery

Specialist Melvin Ortiz of the Wisconsin Army National Guard had barely arrived at Volk Field Wednesday afternoon when he was rushed off the plane. His wife Johana had gone into labor before making a trip from Milwaukee to greet her husband who was returning from deployment to Iraq with other members of the 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. Ortiz signed special paperwork that allowed him to be with his wife when she gave birth to a 7 pound, 8 ounce baby boy at West Allis Memorial Hospital. Ortiz will have another reunion with his wife and new son Eduardo after he completes the demobilization process at Fort McCoy.