Enter the Angels with Badges awards. On Oct. 6, at Clark County Sheriff West Precinct’s small gathering room, smiles and hugs abounded as local elected officials, former Sheriff Garry Lucas, historian Pat Jollota, Vancouver Police Chief Jeff Mori, CCSO “first lady” Michelle Horch and others mingled with the awardees and their fellow deputies. Burgerville Executive Vice President Beth Brewer, who had been alerted that the awardees would receive Burgerville gift cards, supplied the event’s snacks.
Master of Ceremonies Jim Mains brought laughter to the ceremony, suggesting (using colorful language) that the deputies owed deference to the attending elected officials for their budgets. Turning serious, he explained, “Our goal is safety for our city and county, our schools, businesses and homes. … We want to thank law enforcement who work miracles in our community.”
Speaking for families in the mental health community, I paid tribute to the timeliness of CCSO’s response. “Our worst nightmare would be that our loved one was on a freeway overpass at the brink of suicide with no one to help.” In this case “angels intervened.”
Addressing any skeptics, I observed that the existence of angels has never been disproven, and I surmised that when they do appear on Earth, a number of them wear law enforcement badges. In this case, the responding officers were timely, coordinated, purposeful and caring.
Following the awarding of Angels with Badges certificates, gift cards and angel wing pins to the four, Granneman spoke, asserting that the credit should go to Freudenberg, who assisted the man in crisis, and who, Granneman asserted, was responsible for saving his life.
Freudenberg, writing after the event, handed credit to “God and Jesus for putting the 911 callers in place that day. Also the deputies, WSP, fire, and AMR.” He credited fellow awardees and others for “coordinating traffic blocks and dealing with angry passersby yelling at the deputy for blocking his way of travel … allowing me to do my thing.”
There are plans for future Angels with Badges awards to law enforcement in Clark County.