What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up? Part Two

On February 24, 2013, the title of the Voice from the Bullpen’s narrative was “What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up.” It was a piece about a young mad who knew the answer to that question back when he was in sixth grade. He went home to his parents after a ride-a-long with a local Jamestown Police Officer (thanks again, Jim), and told his folks he wanted to be a police officer. That young man happened to be Sally’s and my son, Jonathan. On February 15, 2013, Jon and twenty nine fellow candidates from the Chesterfield County Virginia Police Academy (eight from Western New York), received their shields following six and a half months of very intense training. Jon has been a member of that police department ever since. Some of his fellow graduates are still there with him, some have relocated to other cities, some have changed professions, but Sally and I will always remember that February, 2013 day, when she had the honor of pinning Jon’s shield on him.

Jon’s aspirations went beyond just walking a beat, or covering a sector in his patrol car. He enjoys what he does, though the nature of his profession causes some trepidation in Sally’s and my minds and hearts. Officer Mayer of Jamestown, Jon’s ride-a-long mentor, has told me a few times to convey these words to Jon, “Trust your training.” I try to remember those words when we get nervous about what he does for a living, and we have a lot of faith in the department that trained Jon, and the men and women he works with who have his back, and who’ve told us that they feel confident that Jon also has theirs.

Jon is proud of what he does, and wants to do even more, evident in the extra training he’s taken on to expand his horizons within the department. That resulted in his being assigned to a Response Unit which, when needed, goes to locations where rallies, or parades, etc., are scheduled, and maybe some unrest is a possibility, or when the county wants to have a presence near those events, in case that possibility of unrest becomes a reality. Jon has also trained in the area of detective work and has taken exams for possible position openings of various he might be interested in pursuing.

In the midst of all he’s done these past six plus years of time in the academy and his service on the force, Jon found the time to meet a wonderful young lady, get married, have a home built, and recently we received word that this coming June, Sally and I will become grandparents again. As of the writing of this piece, I don’t know if I will be a grandpa for the fifth time, or a grandma for the first time. Either way, we are stockpiling Cleveland Indians bibs, toys, etc. Sally actually found Jon’s first ever Cleveland Indians and Cleveland Browns outfits, which could be worn by a girl or a boy, and gave them to Erica and Jon, telling them we just wanted them to have the clothes if they decide they can use them.

All of this, the house, the marriage, the announcement of the new member of the Lombardo Clan, has all happened in the past year, a world wind you might say, that’s happened to their family and ours. But it didn’t just include all of this, there’s more.

Jon called me just after that found out they were expecting with some other news. It was a couple months plus after their wedding just before the surprising way they informed us of their news about the baby. (When they came up for Thanksgiving, and our family celebration of Christmas that same weekend as we had everyone here together, they presented us with their wedding album designed with wonderful pictures of their August nuptials, with selected photos that had many featuring Erica’s immediate family, many of Erica and Jon’s friends, and a whole lot of pictures of our family who were at the event that weekend. On the last page of the album was a picture of the first sonogram they received labeled “Coming in June, 2019.”)

Anyway, the new news was that Jon received a call from one of the higher ups in the Chesterfield County Police Department, that he had earned his shield to be a detective in the CCPD, and there was an opening if he wanted it. His hard work, his focus on what he hopes to accomplish in his profession, and the impression he’s made in the department, also his persistence to keep at it, and his patience to wait for the opening, and not become discouraged waiting, was all part of creating the smile on his face, and on our faces when he shared the news of this with us. I immediately contacted Jim Mayer and informed him of this news and thanked him again for being such a positive influence on Jon, and Jim’s first words after “Give him my congratulations,” were “tell him to trust his training.” Copy that Jim Mayer. It was done right after you said it to me.

So Jon is now working in plain clothes, working on cases that Sally and I probably don’t want to know all the details of, but our great pride in him, might help ease some of the trepidation. (Nah, I don’t really think so.) This was part of his goal, on his first day of Academy Training in July 2012, and on that February 2013 day, when Sally pinned his Officer’s Shield on his chest.

This coming Friday, February 15, that Chesterfield County Police Academy’s 2013 graduating class will celebrate their sixth anniversary. There are so many Sally and I will always be indebted to, in helping Jon get to where he is today and keep him on the road to where he still may want to go in his career. These are the people who, with Jon, received the training he needs to trust in everything he undertakes.

Thanks again, Jim Meyer, all of Jon’s teachers, school staffs, and professors throughout his entire education. Thanks, all of his coaches who pushed him hard, who expected better from him each and every day. Thanks, you who fed his spiritual needs, and his appreciation of prayer and faith. Thanks, any/all of his bosses, and/or supervisors as he was growing up, for helping him understand the need to accomplish tasks, from the mundane to the most exciting, because someone told him to do it. Thanks Chasy and Chrissy for showing little brother the ropes as he was growing up and always loving and supporting him, and especially for pushing him around on the living room floor in that empty box decorated and turned into a car. There were even a few siren sounds made during those moments, which maybe stuck in Jon’s mind. Thanks to all of our family members and friends for your love, support, prayers and confidence in, and for, Jon.

To all those in Jon’s graduating class of 2013, Congratulations on your anniversary, this coming Friday. Thank you for having Jon’s back and for being his brothers and sisters in blue. Thank you too, and all Fire Personnel, First Responders, and our military, for your Service, dedication, commitment, and sacrifice as you Serve and Protect those, be they on your watch or not. God be with you, and may you all return home safely from every one of your shifts. Jon, always remember, Be Safe, Be Smart, Be Happy, and May God ride with you. Mom and I love you and are very proud of you.