A Christmas Tradition I Wish Never Existed

This evening at 10:00 while you’re snuggled in your warm home, a group of police officers, friends and family of Trooper Scott Patrick will surround his grave, remembering his last 10-41 (on-duty).

December 21st, the day before Scott was killed in the line of duty always get ‘s to me. I guess there is a reason it’s the darkest day of the year. This time in 2003 Scott was still alive. He was still able to hug and kiss his pregnant wife. He didn’t know this would be his last shift. That he wouldn’t get to celebrate Christmas with his family. He’d leave for work on this evening, go 10-41 at 10:00 p.m. and never return home. Those thoughts haunt me. So much hope on 12-21-2003, and that hope to be shattered hours later in the early morning of 12-22-2003.

As I count down the hours to bundling up and heading to the cemetery, I’m reminded of a blog I wrote on my initial giving journey back in 2011. The words I wrote that day still hold true.

12-11-11
Today is one of the saddest days of the year for me. I have cried on and off all day long. Call me an emotional girl or someone who has a heart and compassion for those that have lost a loved one in such a tragic way. Call it a wife of a law enforcement officer who worries every time her husband leaves the house. And today reminds me more than other days of that reality.

I just returned from a law enforcement memorial that is held at 10:00 p.m. at the graveside of Trooper Scott Patrick. 10:00p.m. December 21, 2003, was the last time Trooper Patrick went 10-41. He would be shot and killed in the early morning on December 22nd.

Tonight friends and family gather to remember him and to say, "You may be gone, but not forgotten." It’s a commitment we made and kept to his family. This year was extremely difficult because they had a bagpiper (gets me every time), the trumpeter (playing taps) and they did a special roll call for Scott over the radio.

Scott was a friend of mine from the police academy and was good friends with my husband. He was one of the best men I had ever met. He always had a smile on his face, was quiet and never a bad word to say about anyone. He was an incredible athlete and could run like the wind.

When he was killed in the line of duty his wife was two months pregnant. He would never get a chance to meet his son, Isaac "Scott" Patrick. After Scott was killed my husband and I made a commitment that #1 we would be there for his family over the years and #2 his son would know what a heroic and wonderful law enforcement officer and man his father was.

His son would be born the following June and at the time I bought tons of baby necessities and clothes. And then I took it one step further, staying to my commitment, every birthday and Christmas starting in 2004, I have sent a gift to Scott. He is now seven (now 13) and he knows who we are and that makes my heart smile.

Today was my annual Christmas gift to Scott. He loves Legos and I bought tons of Legos!

When I was in college, one of my friend’s mom passed away unexpectedly. I remember talking to his father months later and he said "people surround you when the tragedy happens and they are at the funeral and then they go on with their lives and you are there to live with the pain and hurt day in and day out. People forget, and I am still suffering."

Those words have always stuck with me and I have tried really hard to stay in touch with Scott's family so they know, I remember, I still hurt and he won't be forgotten.

As I have stated many times before, say thank you to a police officer for the job they do. 99% of officers are the "good guys" sacrificing their lives on a daily basis for our safety.

So tonight, as you prepare for bed, say a prayer for the men and women in law enforcement and say a prayer for the families and friends who find themselves surrounding a grave of a hero who never returned home.

Blessings,

Stephanie

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About the Author:

Stephanie Jones and her husband, Mike, live in Northwest, IN and enjoy lake life and travel. Stephanie is the author of The Giving Challenge-40 Days to a More Generous Life (on sale NOW!), a speaker, life success coach, and a daily giver. Stephanie empowers people to change their life through giving.

You can contact Stephanie by email at Stephanie@GivingGal.com

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