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.

1 comment:

tom herre said...

Well said. Thanks for underscoring the importance to the community of what these men and their departments do.

Tom Herre
City Manager