Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a ceremony at the police headquarters in Launceston. Last year marked ten years that Simon has been serving in the police force and he was recognised yesterday with a medal. In order to get a medal you have to have served with an unblemished record.
There were quite a few police officers present in their official police uniforms which is the wearing of the blazer and any other medals.
Simon's other medals include a bravery medal, awarded to him by the International Humane Society in 2005 and presented to him by the Governor of Tasmania at Government House. It was for pulling two young men from a burning vehicle at Beaumaris, near St Helens between Christmas and New Year's in 2003. The car exploded shortly thereafter and Simon was treated for smoke inhalation.
Contrary to popular belief, a police officer is not bound by their duty to undertake such acts if their own lives are put at risk. They have the choice not to act but as we know police officers continually put their lives at risk, for complete strangers, knowing that there is a possibility they may not see their own family again. I know that thought went through Simon's mind but he did not even hesitate to assist. They say 'its just part of the job' but to me, they are real heroes.
Sadly the young men did not survive but we have kept in contact with one of the families over the years and they were present in Hobart when Simon received his bravery medal. I have so much admiration and tenderness for them, for their quiet strength and the way they have reached out through their pain to remember their son. They told their story awhile back on the show about organ donation (I can't remember the name of it) and how their son was able to help bless the lives of others by being a donor.
But I digress.
The Tasmanian Police Commissioner, Darren Hine, gave out the medals.
There was so much blue in the room, it made me nervous. ;) People have often asked me if I am nervous when I get pulled over. Even though we live in a police house and I am around the uniform all the time and I often get knocks on the door at 7.30 in the morning asking for keys or a radio, (and I am still in my pjs) I still get nervous when I am pulled over, doing a mental check of seatbelts, rego and licence. I'm not nervous around police officers I know because we are friends and I know their family and the kids play together, but ones I don't, I feel a little like a school kid again. :)
Yesterday, with all those uniforms, an irrational thought went through my mind. I was thinking, 'oh no, they know. 'They know that when I was 12 years old, I stole a coconut ice from the shop on Elphin Road'. Now they are going to arrest me for it!!' Lol. My one big crime and the guilt has haunted me ever since.
The MC made a lovely speech about how important it was to see the families of the police officers there, supporting their spouse, supporting their son or daughter, supporting their father or mother. Even though I didn't know anyone, it was lovely to have Jonty and Flynn there supporting their Daddy. The MC also commented on how the families should be recognised for their support, which I thought was really nice. It was nice to get a little pat on the back and I saw all the other family members smiling and I knew what they were smiling about - putting up with the toll of shiftwork in a very stressful job. And not 'putting up with' in a negative way either because we all just accept that it is something that comes with the job.
Jonty and Flynn haven't been around to see much of the 11.5 years that Simon has put into the job but I know that as they grow older they will be so proud of the selfless work that Simon has done, all the sleepless nights doing shift work, the abuse from a few of the more rowdy clientele, the all too many road accidents, a few bumps and bruises (again the rowdy clientele) and his role in search and rescue - the one time when people are happy to see the police. ;)
As the wife of a police officer, all I can add to that is that I am the proudest of all. Not anyone could be a police officer and not just anyone can be a good police officer but time and time again I hear from people about how he keeps a cool calm head in extremely stressful situations and has the right balance of being firm and fair. Even some of the rowdy clientele agree. :)
At the end of the ceremony there was a pretty good afternoon tea that Jonty seemed to really enjoy.
What I love about Simon is that he will come home from work and sometimes I don't ask him about it because (a) ignorance is bliss and it's how I tell myself I can worry less because I can't worry if I don't know what he has had to do (but this this doesn't always work! - the wife of a police officer always worries) (b) he wouldn't tell me because he wouldn't want me to worry (c) many things are confidential and even if I asked him he wouldn't break that trust. But what I love is that Simon will come home from goodness knows what scenes he has seen and go jump on the trampoline with the kids and play wrestles. That's not just a good police officer, that is a great Dad.
And finally just as a side note, above the bar area in the room was this sign.
Good to know they take their own advice!! :)