I once had a friend who was a first responder, and some of the stories he would tell could curl your hair. Sure, many of the calls he had to deal with were pretty horrible.
But what impressed me the most was the intestinal fortitude it would take to remain in such a career for year after year after year. Oddly enough, though, it’s not uncommon for EMTs, firefighters, and police officers to stay in the game for the long haul.
Just consider Sergeant Thomas Reid, Jr., a veteran with the Cincinnati Police Department who retired on December 28, 2017. Reid had served for four-and-a-half decades, making him the most senior employee on the force.
Then there was NYPD Lt. Anthony DiPalma who retired in 2013 after beginning his career in the late sixties.
“On Oct. 25, 1969, an 18-year-old kid walked into Abraham Lincoln High School to take the test to be a New York City police officer,” he said during his retirement party.
“Who would have thought I would have such a long, rewarding career? … I couldn’t have asked for more.”
Arizona Department of Public Safety trooper Mark Gilberg must’ve felt much the same way. Having begun his career in the early eighties, Gilberg had faithfully served for 37 years.
That made him the longest-serving trooper who actively participated in patrolling around Northern Arizona — and one of the hardest working.
“Gilberg has an incredible work ethic, working all kinds of shifts,” Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Bart Graves told Phoenix News.
But on March 29, Gilberg made a routine radio call that was the last of his career.
“Badge 2988 began his career March 11th, 1981, he said. “This will be my final 10-7 [sign off].”
“10-4, and you’re making me cry too,” the dispatcher replied. “Did everyone copy that?”
Everyone did, including those of us who’ve never had the privilege of serving. So next time you pass a cruiser, take a moment to offer up a prayer for those who spend their lives safeguarding ours.
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