A Thought About Helping Newtown

Those of you who’ve been coming here for a while know that I’ve been a police officer for, well, a really long time.

(image via newtown patch)

My colleagues and I tend to minimize what we do. We’ve all got our assigned specialties or things we do because we’re good at them. To say we do them routinely is a disservice to those acts. Perhaps the best way to say it is that we do them well without thinking about what it looks like to our peers and the public.

As an example, I have a particular specialized assignment. It suits me. Other officers ask me how I do it, how I put up with some aspects of that assignment and finish the conversations with “I couldn’t do what you do”.

It strikes me that the person who is saying those things to me might be a detective who investigates fatal traffic accidents, or a vice officer who deals with unspeakably bad folks, or someone who runs 911 calls all day every day and never sees anyone who is having a good day. They all look at what I do and say “I couldn’t do what you do”. The funny thing is, I say the same thing back to them. I don’t know how my friends investigate child sex abuse cases. I’ll work drug cases, but I don’t like them. I’ve handled traffic fatalities, but how someone does so over and over is beyond me.

There are two things that we all agree on when we bump into one another in the hall. One is that we all have great jobs that are sadly necessary. The other is that there is always someone else who has it worse.

Connecticut State Police

(Photo credit: scoutnurse)

My brothers and sisters in the Newtown Police Department, the Connecticut State Police and the other agencies who are assisting them following the school shootings had it worse yesterday. I watched the news and could only imagine the things they were seeing, the emotions they were feeling and the awful work they were doing because someone had to. I am proud of them, I hope you are too.

I hope you are because they were there all night, and will be all day today and into next week. And next month, when this is off our radar, they will still be dealing with it.

They’ll deal with the work and they’ll act like it isn’t a big deal. Kids and grandkids will get silent hugs that are inexplicably strong, then the hugger will walk away and act like nothing’s wrong. Something will be wrong.

When I first started working, when “something was wrong” the expectation was that who ever had the problem would fix it. Not fixing it, or struggling to fix it was a sign of weakness. Things have changed and there are programs in place in most agencies to assist officers in dealing with the emotional stress of the job. I was happy to hear it said that all who were on the scene of the school shooting would be mandated to attend counseling.

I’d like to ask you to do something to help them fix what’s wrong. This isn’t in place of the things many of you are doing, like writing the school or making donations to those who will be helping Newtown families. I’m adding to your to do list. Take a moment and write a note to the Newtown Police Department or the Connecticut State Police.

Do you know who else needs to hear from you? The firefighters and paramedics, because seriously, I couldn’t do those jobs.

I’ll tell you from experience that whatever you send will eventually drift down to the people who need to see them. They’ll sit in an office or a roll call room. Officer, paramedics and fire fighters will look them over in a quiet moment. Later, they’ll think of what they read and your thoughts will make that “something that is wrong” just a little better.

You’ll know what to write. The people who need to see it, will see it. It will help.

Here is where to find the addresses of the…

Newtown Police Department

Newtown Fire Departments

Newtown Volunteer Ambulance Corps

Connecticut State Police

Spread the word. Let’s help them all.

I’m updating with the addresses as quickly as I can since the links seem to be swamped and not responding. Bear with me.

Newtown Police Dept

3 Main St

Newtown, CT 06470
Newtown Ambulance Service
75 Main St

Newtown, CT 06470

Connecticut State Police
90 Lakeside Rd

Southbury, CT 06488

11 p.m. update – the links seem to be working. There are multiple fire and ambulance units that you can reach out to there.

12:45 update – whatever you all are doing is working. This post is getting easily triple the average traffic my whole blog gets on an entire December Sunday. Thank you to all who have posted on Facebook, that seems to be getting the word out! Bloggers, if I have a link back to your repost I will be posting links to your home pages later today once I’m off duty. Thanks so much for caring.

Also, I feel awful because I left out the folks who look after police, fire fighters and paramedics every day – our telecommunicators. They take your calls, get the help you need to you and protect your protectors. I know that I owe my life to a few of them. You should know that they’re struggling with this as much as the on scene staff and often get less closure than we do.

One more thing. I am returning to writing silliness tomorrow, but I’m not forgetting what we’ve taken on here. Hope you won’t either.

68 Comments on “A Thought About Helping Newtown”

  1. Michelle Gillies says:

    Count me in. I think this is a wonderful idea and truly something we should think of on a regular basis. I couldn’t do what you do (whatever that is), or what any of your colleagues do. One thing I can tell you without a doubt is that I am truly grateful for all of you who do do it.

  2. Linda Sand says:

    The only one of those links that worked for me was the ambulance one. Don’t know if it is you or me, though.

  3. […] If you are looking for away to thank these helpers–Click: A Thought About Helping Newtown.  […]

  4. Thank you. Will Share. The links are not working but that may be because the servers are overwhelmed.

  5. Blogdramedy says:

    A beautiful sentiment for an ugly situation. Done.

  6. robincoyle says:

    Your post moved me, Oma. Thank you for reminding us to reach out to those who selflessly serve and protect our safety. Consider it done.

    I’m glad their servers are swamped. That means a lot of people care about them.

  7. k8edid says:

    I’m on it. I can only imagine the horror…I don’t pray for much, but I pray for strength for the families, the first responders, and the community. Thank you, Oma.

  8. Blogdramedy says:

    Reblogged this on blogdramedy and commented:

    A moving piece written by Oma. Read and pass it on.

  9. H.E. ELLIS says:

    Reblogged this on H.E. ELLIS and commented:
    A timely post from someone who said it better than I ever could….

  10. omawarisan says:

    Thanks to all who’ve tweeted/reblogged/facebooked

  11. Lenore Diane says:

    Awesome stuff, Oma. I’ve had similar sentiments for nurses and doctors, too. While at the hospital when Walter died, the nurses treated us as if we were their only patient. They hugged Walter’s parents, who were (understandably) sobbing. As I cried, I also watched the nurses and wondered how many other people they consoled ‘today’ and how many more will they console. I couldn’t do their job, but I am so proud to know they do theirs beautifully.
    Thank you for this. I’m certainly going to write letters.

  12. Lenore Diane says:

    Here is another address:
    Sandy Hook Vol. Fire and Rescue
    18-20 Riverside Rd/Po Box 783
    Sandy Hook, CT 06482

    • omawarisan says:

      Thanks for adding that. With as big an incident as this is, a large agency would be hard pressed to manage the scene. Small towns have to band together so I’m sure the surrounding towns are in the game.

  13. Clearly, many of us are blogging about this tragedy today. I could not sleep last night, and ended up writing instead. Too often we don’t think of those who are the first responders, the people who see it unsanitize and raw. My husband sees a lot of trauma, as surgeon, and I’ve thought so many times: he has seen things that we can’t imagine. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today. We can all help these officers and first responders. Their sleep will, no doubt, not be easy for a long time to come.

  14. We Found Him Captain! says:

    You are a good and kind person and you make me proud. By the way did I mention that ” I could not do what you do?” When you retire you will leave a hole which may never be filled completely.

    • omawarisan says:

      You have mentioned several times that you could not do what I do, and I have said the same back. No way.

      As to the hole, I never used to think that. Now that I’m close to leaving, people are making it a point to come to me and express that. It is very hard and very easy to hear.

  15. Anita Neuman says:

    Thanks, Oma. I’m sharing this.

  16. Thank you. And we love you guys. I mean, there were times when I was much younger that I could have done without seeing a cop… but now I know that if some guy shows up at my kids school with a gun, it is you and your fellow officers that will risk their lives to save all those kids there. Thank you.

  17. omawarisan says:

    Wow…thank you to all who have commented or helped push this idea so far. I wrote this, left, came back a few hours later and it has been re-blogged, tweeted and facebooked more than anything else I’ve written. At the moment, it is up to 40 likes on facebook. Keep spreading the word and write those notes!

  18. Reblogged this on Pondering Things and Taking Pictures and commented:
    Sometimes we look for reasons, excuses, blame or whatever helps us “through” tragic events. Here is a way to help those, who by Honoring their commitment to Serving others, were at the tip of the spear in what must have been a living hell. Please let them know we care.
    Thanks, The Jagged Man

  19. Nami says:

    Hey there – Kim from The G Is Silent directed me here and I can’t tell you how your post gave at least a focus to such a senseless act. Not a single parent or person has talked about this without crying and it makes sense to thank those who bear the brunt of it for us.

  20. Betty says:

    As you may know, I am a CT resident. I live just a couple of towns away from Newtown and have several friends who live there. One friend in particular had two children in the school. His son was at another end of the school, but his daughter was, as he put it, “too close.” Apparently she was one who was saved by a hero teacher. He was one of hundreds of parents who rushed to Sandy Hook Fire Dept to pick up children and he had nothing but praise for the first responders. Police mobilized instantly from every part of the state. I happened to be driving on Route 25 late Friday morning and was passed by a fleet of state police vehicles, lights flashing, which I now realize were on their way to Newtown. And they have not had a moment of rest since. The sadness in our community is overwhelming. Victoria Soto lived in my home town and her mother was close friends with a high school friend of mine. All these folks need support and love.

  21. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Done, Oma. I just can’t begin to imagine what these individuals are going through. Their lives are forever changed. It is so damn sad and tragic.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thank you.

      It is sad and tragic. There’s so much to be done, but where do you start?

      • Snoring Dog Studio says:

        We have to start by demanding stronger federal gun control legislation. The loopholes in current laws are ridiculous. And we need to tackle the issue of abysmal mental health services in this country – services that have been defunded since Reagan.

  22. Dayton Ward says:

    Reblogged this on The Fog of Ward and commented:
    With everything that happened and continues to happen in Newton following Friday’s tragic events, it’s easy to forget one group of people caught up in all of this. Friend H.E. Ellis offers a gentle reminder, and a few suggestions on how just a little time and effort can be immensely helpful.

  23. Reblogged this on Hippie Cahier and commented:
    I know most of you already read this for yourselves, but it bears reblogging, so that’s what I’m doing.

  24. shoutabyss says:

    Thanks to Hipper Cahier who finally popped this on my radar.

    No, I did not know, Oma, that you are a member of law enforcement. I did have the feeling that you were in some sort of supervisory position. In spite of that I still like you quite a bit. 🙂 I have a strong affinity to law enforcement so that just makes me like you even more. When I mentioned it to my wife I think she said something about leaving me and hunting you down. I must have misheard her.

    Like others said more eloquently above, your post moved me, too. I have often wondered what it must be like. To make a routine traffic stop as part of your job, walk up to the stranger in that car, and never quite know what is about to happen next. That has got to be totally nuts. Or responding to tragic events.

    I will happily do as you ask. I’m shamed I never thought of it but I have always felt it. Things have been rather crazy in my neck of the woods, too. Nothing like Newtown but shootings, stabbings, kidnaps, bomb threats, hit and runs, head on collisions, and much much more. I’m going to take time out to write to my local heroes, too, and see how many of my friends I can get to join in.

    • omawarisan says:

      Thanks for getting in on it, and hi to Mrs. A! Hope her shoulder heals and she still has that great fastball she had before her injury.

      I’m surprised, if I were going to make a list of people who knew what I did, you’d have been on it. I’ll talk more about what I do, later.

  25. Thanks, Oma…proud to call you my friend! Sharing on Facebook!

  26. Paul says:

    A great idea. It’s a shame that we can’t contact the parents and children in the same way.

  27. I don’t think I ever told you this Oma… my parents are both retired police. I know that they share your feelings. Well said. Thank you for sharing and I’m sending a tweet now.

    • omawarisan says:

      I saw the tweet, thank you Jackie.

      Didn’t know about your folks. Proud of them for running the gauntlet and getting out of the job. Not easy being a cop’s kid either

  28. omawarisan says:

    This is amazing to me. I’m showing 137 facebook likes for this post. People like what I write?

    so many tweets and reblogs. thanks all for sharing, it looks like what you are doing to spread the word is working.

  29. Mike George says:

    I once taught first aid and cpr at a Junior College to future first responders.
    I have let let training lapse. I can not help those up there in CT. but, I can go back and renew my certificates and training. After your letter it has motivated me even more. I will be recertified in Jan. and look to get back into training future responders.

    You are truly a blessed profession


  30. […] address elsewhere. Our friend Oma reminds us to think of the police, firefighters, and paramedics here and gives us links to how to contact them. Let’s not forget the teachers and staff of the […]

  31. Debbie says:

    I’m proud to know you, Oma — you’re one of the good guys, doing an often under-appreciated job. Thank you! I’ve been out of pocket for a few days — so much sadness in my absence.

  32. Pie says:

    This is one of the most original posts I’ve seen regarding this tragic, horrible incident. Thanks for providing these links and addresses. I aim to use one of these to send my words of support from the UK. I wish I could be as sure of a link enabling me to post my condolences to the families that wasn’t from a fake Facebook or Twitter account.

  33. pienbiscuits says:

    Reblogged this on Pie and Biscuits and commented:
    A unique take on the tragedy of Newton, Connecticut, from one of my favourite bloggers, Omawarisan…

  34. lbwoodgate says:

    What a vital post Oma and a service that needs to be made public. Glad I came across it and hope it reaches even many more people within the next few days.

    I woke up Sunday morning with the awful feeling of what the parent’s who lost children at Sandy hook must have been waking up to that day. It didn’t dawn on me that first responders would have similar traumas. So thanks for making us aware.

  35. […] ♥~ Send a thank you note to the Sandy Hook “helpers.”  […]

  36. […] A Thought About Helping Newtown […]

  37. […] for the helpers during a disaster. A few days later, Oma wrote a post on his blog, Blurt, “A Thought About Helping Newtown.” In it, he made the suggestion that we write a note to the Newtown Police Department, […]

So, what's on your mind?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s