· Strength for Service

The good, the bad, and the ugly

By Dan Ramsey

Recent events have strained our communities and law enforcement all around the world.

I spent 30 years as a Houston police officer and I experienced a lot of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I spent 8 to 10 hours a day working with my brothers and sisters in police work. We spent more hours together than we did with our own families. Most of the times we were confronted with the bad and the ugly; only occasionally did the good outweigh the bad.

A few weeks ago a friend and former Houston police officer passed away and prior to the funeral. I asked my wife if I still bleed “blue,” a term that law enforcement uses when caring for fellow law enforcement officers in their times of need.

She did not know.

During the funeral, I found out quickly that I did still bleed blue.

Those funerals don’t get any easier.

I have participated in many police funerals and I did not always know the officer personally, but we still had a bond in that we both faced the good, the bad, and ugly wherever we worked.

In the last few weeks five officers were killed in Dallas and three were killed in Baton Rouge.

In an email, Mark Lubbock asked for prayer for an emergency surgery. He also said that prior to the operation, he asked his surgeon how was it with his soul.

The surgeon told Mark that he was struggling. He said he had seen a lot of horrible things in his years as a doctor but as a member of the surgical team that operated on Baton Rouge officers, the deaths really hit him hard. He said all of the trauma teams were hurting.

Mark told the doctor about the Strength for Service to God and Community devotional book and how they were written for first responders.

The surgeon asked Mark if he could get one to read and share with his coworkers.

Mark gave him his personal copy.

A day later, I saw the Rev. Duren Boyce, lead chaplain for Baton Rouge Police Department on television. You could tell he was hurting and exhausted after providing spiritual support to his fellow officers.

I needed to respond.

I did not know Chaplain Boyce, but I called his office.

I expected his secretary or another employee to answer the phone, but Chaplain Boyce, answered.

I introduced myself as a retired Houston police officer and told the chaplain about the Strength for Service books. I asked if he could use some and he quickly answered that he would be “eternally grateful.” He said he needed more resources to help his officers.

With the assistance of Larry Coppock, the generosity of members of Grace UMC in Houston who had ordered a box of the books, and books provided by World Wide Technology, I arrived at the Baton Rouge Police Department on July 25 with 468 Strength for Service books.

It was the same day as the funeral of Montrell Jackson, a 10-year veteran of the police department, who left behind a wife and a 4-month-old son.

The chaplain and I talked about the books, and I prayed with and for him, the department, and community. Before he left the funeral, he prayed for me.

I also met a young officer named Kobb who was guarding the main police station. He said he had never experienced such pain.

The faces of Chaplain Boyce and that young officer told the story of a hurting and exhausted department, but they were not going to give up.

Officer Montrell Jackson entered a plea on his Facebook page just days before his death: “Don’t let hate infect your heart!”

Thank God for Strength For Service!

Thank God for Grace UMC!

Thank God for Mark Lubbock!

Thank God for people and communities responding to Gods call to make a difference!

Thank God for sending his son to die for our sins!

Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!

Dan Ramsey, former president

National Association of Conference Presidents



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