I had the honor of sitting next to Davids' sister, Alene Andrews-Smith, in the front row at the Memorial on May 1st 2003. Come to find out we both worked at Firestone, Carson and Lynwood stations at various times in our careers and our paths had crossed many times. She worked for the California Highway Patrol and I worked for the Sheriff's Department. I also had a chance to meet most Davids' family at the Memorial. One of the younger family members looked so much like David that I did several double takes. David has a huge family and they all seemed to be involved in law enforcement in one way or another. I can't think of another family that has given more to LA County and the citizens of California then they have. I wish I had more time to meet and talk to each family member however, the time flew by and I was back in Oregon the next morning. Now, all I can think about is all the things I didn't get to say to them. I think that the most memorible thing I left with was a little insight into how strong his family truly is. None of them had a bitter word to say about anyone or any agency. How many of us could have remained that strongly commited to law enforcement after what they have been through? It made me think of the things that I sometimes gripe about and how small and petty my worries are when compared to what others endure. At the same time I thought, "isn't that what made Firestone so special"? Not only enduring, but actually looking forward to each day. We can all remember coming to work and trying to find a parking spot in a lot that was way too small, getting dressed in a locker room that was one fifth the size of locker rooms at other stations and feeling lucky to find a room large enough to hold a real meeting in. Yet we looked forward to coming to work every day and actually felt guilty when we had to call in sick or take a day off. Every day I was away from work I felt like I was letting someone down. Feeling that the day that I took off might be the day when just one more person in the field might make a difference. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed working at each unit I was assigned to. It's just that when I feel that the world is really beating me up and things can't get much worse, if I think about my time at Firestone, I start holding my head up a little higher, take a good look at what's happening and say to myself, "I worked the Stone. This is nothing".
Thanks again Bill. Your web site brought a lot of people together to accomplish what none of us could have done acting alone.