Today I lament the passing of, and fondly remember the lives of, two retired servants of peace keeping whom I knew and worked with in the Virginia State Police when I began my career. Both served in Salem, Virginia, Division 6, as their last duty station which was also my last duty station with VSP. Both men looked the part and were the finest of Peace Keepers for their whole long careers. They were Johnny Holt, who died last Sunday, the 22nd, and James Jacobs who died Thursday. I had the greatest of admiration and respect for both of them. I do miss my old brothers.
All of this past week I have thought on and evaluated the huge amount of service and dedication put forth by each and every Peace Keeper of Law Enforcement and the Military. Only the ones who have been there would comprehend that of which I am speaking. Their service covers so many types of experiences and endeavors that the enormity of it all is overwhelming. Some of the measuring descriptors are dedication to duty (dedication means set aside for a specific purpose), loneliness, resistance from those being served and those with whom you have to interact and control, sometimes great stress, sometimes great pain, and sometimes the ultimate service – The sacrifice of life itself! I am deeply proud of my brothers and sisters in peace keeping… I miss all of you terribly! Missing you creates an emptiness upon which I must concentrate to fill with other thoughts and endeavors. Missing you is like missing my deceased wife and son… It is simply something that is always there!
Retirement because of medical problems creates a kind of separation from cohorts and compadre’s that cannot be prepared for and is difficult to comprehend even as it is experienced.
I always looked forward to retirement as a time when I could be active doing the things that I had always planned to do when retirement came… Fun things or special work… But I never felt like retiring… Then the law dictated when I had to give up being a Law Enforcer because of age but that did not hinder me from continuing service as a chaplain until eye disease caught up with me… We never plan on illness because we do not expect it to lay us out in disability. We recover when we have physical problems – that is the expectation of all people when illness comes – but physical breakdown is not expected nor can we conceive that we cannot recover from it… Or that recovery will take a very long time… Until it actually hits us personally like it did me!… Then it becomes a battle for survival for a time… Then a battle for recovery… I have survived… My heart and kidneys have fully recovered… The battle for the eye continues.
This week my eye surgeon was excitedly happy with the progress of my left eye since surgery two months ago. I thought he was going to jump up and down. He was so pleased that all of the swelling was gone and the implants were doing their jobs. The vision is still unpredictable and changes drastically, frequently, but the right eye is fine.
As this message percolated in my spirit and my thoughts, I experienced a loneliness that comes and goes with the passing of time and demands made upon the human organism. Loneliness is an emptiness that can only be filled by certain things or people that are not available at the present moment, except in memory, like a deceased loved one or the people you left behind in retirement. Even when this loneliness comes, I am happy to report that it does not stay if you do not dwell upon the loneliness but upon the pleasant memories of the things or people that have come to your thoughts… Think about them and enjoy, but do not dwell there… Continue to busy yourself with positive things that you can do while you are remembering… Then the loneliness is filled and passes and happiness is not hindered.
I practice remembering my favorite place in the mountains of Virginia when I am not busy… I go there in my thoughts and savor it all again as though I am there… But I do not let it hinder me from taking care of the present things that must also be accomplished. I enjoy pleasant memories of loved ones the same way but I do not let those memories hinder the things that must be done now. Memory and the thinking process are two of our greatest attributes. We can use them when we want to use them… We can turn them aside and concentrate upon things at hand when things at hand must be taken care of. The ability to change our thoughts as we choose and to think of whatever we choose is one of the very greatest attributes that we possess. Sometimes it takes a lot of time and effort to learn that we have that ability and that we can use it as we choose!!!
Peace Keepers, you are never far from my thoughts. You are just as powerfully present in my conscious and subconscious thoughts as are my closest loved ones and my relationship to and with the Living God. You are, each and every one of you, precious to me… Precious means of great value!… It also means not commonly available but scarce in relation to all of what is available! As you live your days and your duty, please remember that you are very valuable to me and to your Creator… You are priceless to our way of life in this world… To those who love and care for and about you, you are not replaceable!!!… There is only one you individually… Your value is not capable of being stated! Life as we know it cannot exist without all of our Peace Keepers!!!… BE EVEN GREATER BLESSED!!!
“BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!” ALWAYS be alert, watchful, suspicious and wary. Take the very best care of you as you care for and about others. See to the strength and well being of your spirit as well as all the rest of yourself. Your spirit must be strong for you to be successful. All of this is by your own choice… He has made provision for you but it is up to you to learn it, take it and put it to use for the best results possible.
Call or write if I may be of any service… Or if you just want to encourage me… Feedback encourages all who write… It helps to know we are reaching someone who reads the message.
Donna has managed to get a doctor to monitor her blood clotting time… It only took two weeks. Otherwise, she is not doing better. She has much swelling, several known clots and much pain with fever and redness below the wound. Without a miracle she will be back to the hospital this week.
Son is still working.
I am surviving well and slowly getting some things done that have been piling up as I was recovering and could not do much.
Thank you for responses, care, concern and prayers…
Victory is ours! Keep on keeping on!!!
As it has always been… So it still is!!!
“VICTORIOUS WARRIORS WIN FIRST…
AND THEN GO TO WAR,
WHILE DEFEATED WARRIORS GO TO WAR FIRST…
AND THEN SEEK TO WIN.” Sun tzu
Training and practice are everything!
Without them, the best results are not obtained!
ONLY LIVE PEACE KEEPERS SEE THE VICTORY!!!
THEY SEE IT ONLY BECAUSE OTHERS HAVE MADE THEIR ETERNAL PAYMENTS OF SWEAT, BLOOD, TEARS AND LIFE FOR THAT VICTORY!
WITH THE DEEPEST OF APPRECIATION AND RESPECT…
BE BLESSED (A CONDITION TO BE ENVIED)…
BE SUCCESSFUL… BE SAFE…
[My injunction to be safe means doing all you know to do as you do your job... it means doing the best you can with what you have where you are using all your faculties to get the job done well and with good results conquering evil and keeping or restoring peace... it does not mean to avoid duty and honor... it does not mean to cower or allow anything to hinder you in the process of duty according to rules, law and ethics... it means that if the demand takes your earthly life you destroy as much evil as possible in the process. That is my definition of being safe... doing the best you can and leaving the rest to God or whomever else is responsible... being best employed for the sake and protection of all the things and people that we hold dear.]
I represent, write for… and give the credit to:
God the Father (my Commander-in-Chief),
Jesus Christ the Son (the Eternal Captain of my life) and
the Holy Spirit of God (my Eternal Teacher, Keeper and Guide).
In Christ I live… with Him and for you I serve…
And I rejoice that you are there whether you are Christian or not…
For God, Country and the Peace Keeper…
D. R. (Don) Staton, Chaplain to Peace Keepers,
Surviving Peace Keeper,
Virginia State Police Alumni,
RETIRED Police Officer,
RETIRED Police Instructor,
RETIRED Chaplain Administrator,
Community Service Officer (Traffic Safety),
Virginia Beach Police Dept.
3709 Beacon Lane, Virginia Beach, VA 23452
All rights reserved. This Message:
Is for Peace Keepers and their loved ones and it may be forwarded with the complete message intact to individuals and web sites…
May not be duplicated in print nor publications without permission….
May not be used in any manner for personal financial gain nor profit
Except for quoted material attributed to a specific source, all material in CHAPLAIN CORNER is my personal opinion gained from 49 years of working with people in peace keeping and is not to be construed to represent the policies and opinions of any department with whom I have served or am serving.
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3709 Beacon Lane, Virginia Beach, VA 23452.
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