Our community stands one less

Published 10:43 pm Monday, December 14, 2009

The death of Pelham Police Officer Philip Davis has stunned and saddened the city of Pelham. Growing up as a policeman’s kid, I understand what being the family member of someone in law enforcement means.

I was almost six when my grandfather died of heart disease. He passed away on my brother’s birthday. When I heard my own father say that he had to go out and make arrangements, I imagined that he would talk to God and right the matter.

Having a grandfather die on a grandchild’s birthday wouldn’t do in my juvenile mind. When my grandfather was buried a few days later, I realized that my policeman daddy — brave and strong as he appeared in his uniform — was not all powerful. As a child, I suddenly understood that every police officer is at risk every time he or she goes to work.

My father retired from law enforcement, yet the little girl living within me will always be a policeman’s kid who struggles to understand why a few brave souls must risk their lives as part of their calling and their profession.

Police officers stand in the gap for each one of us—keeping order and protecting us from the evil that lurks in every community.

Those who love this rare breed, support them — and sometimes, as unfair as it is, they lose their beloved family members.

Our Pelham Police officers respond when we have an emergency at our schools.

They kneel to talk to our children. They protect and serve — not only our community, but also individuals. We owe them our support and respect in all circumstances.

Officer Philip Davis’ funeral was very moving with our police department honoring one of their own brothers with grace and dignity unsurpassed — and grieving with a very broken-hearted family.

Law enforcement officers from around the state and throughout the country were in attendance.

What can we do to help? A fund has been established at America’s First Credit Union to accept contributions for the Davis family.

Principal Bob Lavett informs me that we will take daily deposits from Pelham High School as our school community contributes. Whatever we give, we can never repay Philip Davis or his family or our Pelham Police Department.

To the family and extended family of Philip Davis, including the Pelham Police Department and law enforcement community, we are so sorry for the loss of this brave young man.

We are humbled by your devotion and we will be forever indebted to you — the members of the Pelham Police Department — Pelham’s very finest.

Today in Pelham, we are one less, we are grieving and we are holding on to one another.

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at CNolen@Shelbyed.k12.al.us.