For the past few months, we’ve tried to promote good stories about the things our LEO’s do, that go above and beyond their usual daily service to our communities. We’ve added some stupid things and unusual things people do as well for a few well deserved laughs- or head shaking.
Today, with a story from Suffer, one from my neck of the woods and another fallen Special Forces Green Beret in Afghanistan, I’d like us to remember our fallen, those who wear blue, and those who wear combat boots. As lawngren reminded us yesterday, and I know folks here always remember, Freedom isn’t Free. That includes those on the front lines of our own cities and streets as well.
The first story comes from Suffer’s neighborhood. It’s heart breaking really, because it was absolutely senseless. Off duty Sheriff’s deputy Lawrence “Larry” Falce, 70, was brutally punched after a minor traffic accident. He fell to the ground unconscious and as the perp took off, another driver tried unsuccessfully to run him off the road to detain him until cops could get there. Officer Falce was taken to an area hospital, but died from his injuries, never regaining consciousness.
At 70, officer Falce was the oldest sworn member of the Sheriff’s Department. He began his career in correction at the Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center and the Central Detention Center, and has spent the last 32 years working patrol for the Central Station in California. Prior to joining the Sheriff’s Department in 1981, he had served in the U.S. Army.
The case is still under investigation, and the attacker was later apprehended.
The second story comes from clear across the country, in my own neck of the woods, more specifically my old neighborhood. I don’t know if many of you remember an incident where a good Samaritan shot a guy who was beating on a cop in the middle of I-75 in south Florida about a year and half ago?
According to witnesses, the man told the guy to get off the officer a few times, and then the officer told him to please shoot him, fearing for his own life. He did, the suspect later died, and the officer was hospitalized for his injuries yet made a full recovery.
Late Tuesday, 49 year old officer Dean Barde was found unconscious at his home by his son, who called 911. Officer Barde was pronouced dead at the hospital a short time later. His death is under investigation, but not deemed suspicious.
I know neither of these officers were killed on duty, and yet it shows in both cases how ordinary circumstances can turn deadly quickly. It’s something they face in or out of uniform. Prayers go out to their families and forces.
This past Monday, New Year’s day turned deadly in Afghanistan. One U.S. service member was killed and four others were wounded during a combat engagement according to a release from U.S. Forces-Afghanistan a day later. The two wounded were taken and treated at a near by medical facility and were listed in stable condition.
Wednesday the DOD released the name of the Special Forces soldier killed- Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin. Sgt. Golin enlisted in the Army a year after he emigrated from Latvia in 2004. He served as an infantryman with the 25th Infantry Division in Alaska before graduating from the Special Forces Qualification Course in 2014.
He had previously deployed to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan, and had been awarded two Purple Hearts, three Army Commendation Medals and three Army Achievement Medals. He was 34 years old.
One more deserves gratitude and honor- Private First Class Emmanuel Mensah, a New York Army National Guard soldier died while saving four during a four alarm apartment fire in the Brox on December 28th. He ran back into the burning building 3 times to rescue family and other residents before succumbing to the flames.
PFC Mensah was born in Ghana but was a permanent legal resident of the United States. He was visiting family after completing military training in Virginia, the Army said. He was 28 years old.
From extraordinary, to what they consider ordinary- just doing their jobs. All our LEO’s, First Responders and our Troops put their lives on the line every day. They might just be ‘doing their job’, but to us, they are heroes.
God bless them and all who serve. Remember the fallen, and pray for their fellow service brothers and sisters safety every day.