For either of my loyal readers who might worry about my whereabouts it was April 4, 2019, when I returned to the wilds of Lake Tschida. The spring thaw caused the lake to rise somewhere around 17 feet, which is not a record but the water did cover the last leg of the road to our place with about 8 feet, making it impassable. A bit over a week later we were able to drive through and kick off the 2019 season, and here we are.

Both my loyal readers know that I retired six years ago but until now neither of them knew that Renee just retired last week. After spending the last six years doing “me” things I’ve now entered the stage of our relationship where “we things” have taken over.

For instance, on her first day of retirement she enquired, “What are we gonna do today?’” And we’ve been spending time doing we things ever since. Granted, it’s presently a novelty thin, but I do have great hopes that I will eventually be allowed some input into the “we” part of the equation. But after 49 years of marriage and her 30-some years of work I’m quite sure I’ll get used to following her around.

So, on to recent happenings. The murder of four people caused quite a lot of amateur police work to dominate every coffee klatch, bar or social media conversation. As usual there was too much unwarranted criticism of our police department’s handling of the case. In particular once the chief of police asked us to remain vigilant while assuring us that there was no danger it seemed like lots of folks not only started worrying but wondered if the guy was nuts … and so the criticism began.

Our police chief told us that they, along with a raft of other law enforcement agencies, were on the case and that going through the process of solving it involved not tipping their hand until it was appropriate to do so. This caused a bit more intrigue than some folks could handle so the rumors began. Despite all the paranoia, three days later they caught the suspect.

I didn’t participate in the rumors, rather, like most folks, I anxiously awaited the public briefings and had great faith that our police department would solve the case. So when they made an arrest and told us how they did it I was quite impressed with how they managed to track this guy down while doing their best to care for the victims’ families and assure us that we were safe. So, hats off to our police department and first responders.

I can’t say enough about our fire department either. These guys are the first responders and from what I’ve heard being the first to arrive on this scene was not a pleasant experience. Like the police our firefighters not only keep us safe but more importantly both are willing to sacrifice themselves to save us, and I for one am incredibly grateful that they are willing to provide such service to us.

It’s pretty rare that we call the police or fire department to respond to something good that happens; rather they respond to whatever crisis we need them for and these crises usually involve life or death. These folks, along with a raft of other government employees, are the real public servants because their job is to help us with something that is most likely overwhelming us or causing harm so great that we can’t handle the situation without help.

So hats off to our first responders, thanks for being there and thanks for keeping us safe. Here’s hoping that you get all the help you need when you need it.

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Dan Ulmer is a parent, grandparent, as well as a retired teacher, counselor, politician, lobbyist, public employee, nonprofit executive and opinionated citizen who believes that we need to do what we can to leave the world better off than we found it.