Whenever someone I admire passes away, I try to mention them in this column. I take their passing with considerable difficulty, and I’m not embarrassed to share my feelings. I know and admire quite a few people. I respect what they do for the betterment of us all and enjoy making my admiration for them known. I’ve learned a valuable lesson. If you admire someone and appreciate what they have done or are doing, let them know. Don’t wait until it’s too late. I wish that I had been able to spend more time with Bruce Snook. He passed much too early, and I never was able to let him know how much I appreciated what he had done for the community. I’d like to continue my lesson learned by saying, “Congratulations to Police Chief Tom Bringman.” A couple of weeks ago, Chief Bringman celebrated forty years in the field of law enforcement. This means that, for more than half his life, he has served the community in which he lives and has done so with pride and dedication to the job.
I stopped by his office a couple of weeks ago and asked if I might speak to him for just a few minutes. About an hour or so later, I left the police department with an even higher respect for the man who works with the police officers who put their lives at risk every day. Please notice that I said Chief Bringman works “with” the officers. He is, in fact, their boss and their leader. The buck stops at his desk. If a mistake happens within the department, he accepts the blame, because he feels that perhaps he had overlooked something, so, as a result, the mistake was made.
For as much as the local firefighters like Chief Tomlinson, I feel confident in saying that the local police officers like Chief Bringman. They like him, because the officers know that he would not ask them to do anything, or perform in such a manner, that he would not do himself.
We are fortunate to have Chief Bringman working for us. He is a people person who believes in the fact that we all have two ears and one mouth, so perhaps we should do more listening than talking. Tom Bringman loves Three Rivers as much as anyone and wants us all to feel confident in knowing that our police officers are doing everything in their power to keep us safe. Whenever I see a police officer or firefighter, I always thank them for their service and ask them to be safe out there. It would be nice if more citizens did that.
The Thursday and Friday prior to Mother’s Day, I spent a total of seven hours volunteering for the St. Joseph County Marine Corps League. I was stationed in front of Walgreens for the purpose of accepting donations for the League. For any donation given, I presented the donor with a small red rose in appreciation for their generosity. The donations received are to be used for scholarships and for aid in assisting wounded veterans, a very worthy cause.
The week prior, I served as co-chair for the Three Rivers Lions Club White Cane Days. The donations received from this fundraiser are used to provide eyeglasses for those in need right here in the Three Rivers area, another very important cause.
Both of these volunteer opportunities are very important to me. I joined Lions and the Marine Corps League because I want to give back in some way. By sitting or standing out there accepting donations, I am not only helping someone, but I also am able to see firsthand how generous people can be when it comes to helping one another. Oh, I’ve seen people pass me by avoiding eye contact and pretending that I’m not there, but most people give freely and thank me for what I’ve done or what I am doing. I’ve found that the people with the least to give give the most. This restores my faith in humanity. These generous people will never make the five o’clock news, but, in a small way, they’ve made this column, and for that I feel very fortunate.
My motto has always been, “Volunteer…..the world is run by those who show up.”
See you Out and About!
Submitted by Norm Stutesman