I remember that Thanksgiving very well. My brother Jerry had just been hired in the last class of new police officers. All those weeks at the academy were over, and he had passed and had been duly sworn in as a Southington Police Officer.
Having a police officer in the family was nothing new. My dad had come up through the ranks and was now the police chief. My Uncle Frank and Uncle Tony also served as police officers, and it just seemed normal to be part of the brotherhood. We were all taught from the time we were young about honor and integrity and standing for what was right, but it wasn’t until that Thanksgiving that I saw real courage in action.
We had just sat down when Jerry got the call. The dispatcher gave the code numbers and Jerry mumbled, “I’ve got to go.” He gets up and runs out of the house. He jumps into his cruiser and was off. Mom looked out the window, and I saw a look of fear come over her face. Dad got up and quietly said, “He’ll be alright”.
Courage is a strange thing. In these weeks of staggering illness and unimaginable suffering, we look for some light in the darkness, some hope on the horizon. Usually, it doesn’t come on the six o’clock news or the headlines in the morning paper.
Many times we find our courage in the eyes of those who care. These are those who are compassionate and reassuring, those who, despite the news, bring peace and comfort. They are those who have learned that they can choose to change their vision from despair to hope by turning their back on those things that bring fear and steal our joy. They are just ordinary people who have learned that there is a higher calling then just looking out for ourselves, but by turning we see the beauty that surrounds us, the joy that is within us and the happiness of others. In the times of our greatest fear we find courage in the heart of one another.
How can we “get” this courage? If you are person of faith, you know that each of us is created with that mustard seed of faith. That faith is a turning from the negativity and fear to seeing the amazing things that are happening all around us. The selfless volunteers at Southington Community Services and Bread for life, the teachers at Thalberg School who took it upon themselves to drive around to each students’ home beeping their horns and yelling how much they missed their students.
It is my dear friend Mary and her friends who are sewing face masks for hospitals and the sick. In the midst of all of this loss and despair, courage and hope abounds…and once you see it you will want to be part of it. Let faith and courage arise in Southington.
What I also learned from that Thanksgiving years ago, was that the code from the dispatcher to Jerry was 10-0 “officer needs help.” That call mobilized a whole police department. Right now there are those all around us that “need help”. How will we respond? Let each of us rise up to help each other and in doing so, courage will arise in our hearts and in those who need us most.
Rev. Victoria Triano (R) is the chairman of the Southington Town Council. She can be reached at email@example.com.