A Hero….Even When No One Was Watching

Sarah Ritchie Healing Leave a Comment

Each morning, when I am getting ready for work, I have “mindless” television on. As a creature of habit, it is the Today Show, for me. I suppose part of the comfort of that program is that the program runs from Rockefeller Center, a block or two from my office.

I get about 90 seconds of real news every half hour from Matt Lauer and Ann Curry and the crew and a lot of fluff—about the Kardashians and other pop culture nonsense. This morning as I was leaving, I was struck by a tragic story that took place in San Diego, where I will be going for business in a few weeks. A handsome young police officer was senselessly shot and killed by, I suppose, your run of the mill street thug. Two things made this story so poignant. The officer, whose name I now know was Jeremy Henwood had served in the military for three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. What was even more striking was that the minutes before the end of his life were probably in his mind no different than any other. For those brief moments were caught on a security camera of the local McDonalds where he stopped for food. The moment caught on film had him befriending a little African-America boy who wanted some food, but didn’t have the money. The officer not only purchased a meal for the kid but engaged him in the kind of “good cop” talk we want from gentle public servants….”What do you want to do when you grow up, etc. etc.”

So the police officer walked out of the restaurant, into his police car and then came to the end of his life. As a youth, we are instructed about how character is demonstrated by what we do “when no one else is watching.” In this case, no one was watching to shepherd this brave man to safety. Yet, in his death, everyone was watching—the senseless nature of the crime scene, but also his final interaction with this youngster.

I, along with many others, will have that grainy security film replay in our mind many times—juxtaposed with the scenes of his memorial service with law enforcement officer, military officials, and a profoundly grieving family. In gathering photos for this posting, I learned yet another extraordinary fact about this family—they donated a number of young Henwood’s organs for transplantation after his murder. God Bless them all. May Jeremy Henwood Rest in Peace.

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