The current President of the Dade County Chiefs of Police Association thought it would be a nice gesture to reach out to the local Veteran’s Association and offer our assistance for Thanksgiving. Chief Charles Press of Key Biscayne only had to ask for some volunteer assistance from the other Chiefs, to honor veterans by serving dinner for Thanksgiving to those Homeless Veterans who have little to nothing.
And so, on Wednesday, the day before the traditional Holiday, virtually every Chief, Assistant Chief and Command Staff from almost every police department, showed up to provide and serve Thanksgiving dinner to those fine, humble people. It was one of the most delightful and gratifying moments of my 40 year career in law enforcement. And many of my colleagues felt the same. What made it so special?
To see the humility, the gratitude, the expression of utter shock and amazement on the face of those former heroes, who served their country and preserved liberty for all of us, was a treasured moment. They were so quiet and unassuming when they entered the room and were treated like celebrities. It may well have been for the first time in their lives.
They repeatedly said “Thank You” as they went thru the food line acquiring a complete feast of a meal. The entire food service was donated by Mr. Lewis Nadel, Executive Director of the South Florida Crime Commission. Thru his generosity and caring heart, he insured that the Chiefs would have plenty of food on hand to serve however many needed to be fed. The respectfulness toward us and the humble ways of these men and (some women) many broken in mind and/or body, was heartwarming. At one point the dining room was filled to capacity and we had theopportunity to interact with them. One of the Vets commented “he hadn’t seen so many stars (collars of uniforms) since he left the military.”
And that was the point. This was about the blessed, the top of the agency serving those who don’t even have a place to call home or a roof over their head. They knew who we were, even if they didn’t understand why we were doing this. Our best response to them was, Because we just wanted to say Thank You for all you did for us.
They came in all shapes and sizes and color. But each one had a similar response, “Thank You.” They ate till they were full and quietly they left as they came, unnoticed, mixing around with the everyday crowds. Heroes unnoticed amongst the general public. Only today, Wednesday, Our Thanksgiving Day – they were noticed and thanked by all. It made for a very special, feeling this year. On behalf of all the Police Chiefs of Dade County, we are grateful to Chief Press and Lewis Nadel for their efforts in making this happen. God Bless to All of You!