Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Final Inspection

Final Inspection
The Policeman stood and faced his God, which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining just as brightly as his brass.

Step forward now Policeman. How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek? To my Church have you been true?

The Policeman squared his shoulder and said, "No Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those who carry badges can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays, and at time my talk is rough...
And sometimes I've been violent because the streets are tough.

But I never took a penny that wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime when the bills just got too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help, though at time I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God forgive me, I've wept a many tear.

I know I don't deserve a place among the people here.
They never wanted me around except to calm their fear.

If you've a place for me here, Lord, it needen't be so grand.
I never expect or had too much and if you don't I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne where the saints had often trod,
as the Policeman waited quietly for the judgement of his God.

Step forward now, Policeman. You've carried your burdens well.
Come walk a beat on Heaven's street. You've done your time in Hell.

-Author Unknown

Tuesday evening we got a phone call the likes of which you never want to get. Sgt. Shauna Greening had taken her own life in her home in SLC. Shawn had worked with her for nearly 18 years, they had been through many things together, not the least of which was his own difficult time.

Needless to say, our world crashed. As we processed things over the course of the next week, the words of a very wise man echoed in my ears. When Shawn had gone to work on Wednesday, the Animal Control Officer told him, "It doesn't matter how she died, it only matters that she did. We should give her the respect she deserves and celebrate and honor her life." Shawn told me, "She may not have died in the line of duty, but certainly, the job killed her."

It was our distinct honor to attend her funeral and for Shawn to participate in the Honor Guard with the American Fork Police Department. As a proud Law Enforcement wife, I felt it my duty to record not the grief exhibited that day, but the class, respect, and brotherhood on display as these brave men and women celebrated the life and service of their sister, Sgt. Shauna Greening.
It was a long processional led by the motors of American Fork Police Department and followed by the Officers themselves. After which was a steady stream of other agency representatives. Lights flashing.
The road was flanked with fire trucks from both AF and Lehi with the flag hanging in the middle. Also, EMS, Paramedics, and Firefighters all standing at attention as we all passed under and through.

While the AFPD Officers stood at attention facing one another for the casket to pass through, the officers from neighboring agencies flanked the sidewalk to honor Sgt. Greening. What you see here is only about 1/3 the number.

Standing at attention while the pallbearers carried her through.

Moving into formation.

Roll call. Each and every Officer was named and answered, "Here, Sir!"

I cannot explain the rush of relief and gratitude that washed over me when I heard, "Sgt. Shawn Richins..." and the response, "Here, Sir!" I was so grateful that the void was not entirely my own. What an honor to be married to a man who puts not only our own family above his own life, but those of the citizens he serves. I am so proud to be a Police Officer wife.

"Sgt. Shauna Greening...Sgt. Shauna Greening...Sgt. Shauna Greening..." was met with devastating silence. After calling her name 3 times, Lt. Liddiard addressed the Chief, "Sir, we are all present and accounted for with the exception of Sgt. Shauna Greening. Request to retire her badge and relieve her from service and duty."

Two of the Officers performed the flag ceremony. Gently lifting it from her casket, it was held aloft while a lone horn played "Taps".

As the flag was folded and presented, a bagpiper slowly climbed the hill to where we stood playing for the warrior.

Flags were presented to her adoptive mother, her adoptive father, and her birth mother.
It was an incredible and devastating day...such a mixture of emotions ran strong all day long...from humility and gratitude, deep sadness and grief, honor and pride. How grateful I am to sit here now with my husband asleep at my side.


The Byron Family said...

so tragic and sad! that brought a waterfall of tears! We are proud to have shawn in the family and love him for protecting all of us.

DT Young Family said...

I'm was sorry to hear about this. What an amazing tribute though.

Thanks Shawn for all you do!

The Neer Family said...

What a beautiful tribute.