Standing Ovation After Incredible Speech Saluting Law Enforcement
Introduction from President Jim Tignanelli
Imagine the logistical challenges that can surface when trying to move a 40-year event to September on short notice. That was what the POAM staff faced this past summer. As you know, in addition to the camaraderie the event provides, the major focus is to recognize significant and heroic performances by many of our members. We have been fortunate to have very special people present those awards each year. This year was no different. Former Chief Justice Bob Young, former Justice Kurt Wilder, Justice Richard Bernstein, Speaker Jason Wentworth, and Representative Mike Mueller were kind enough to organize their busy lives in advance of the Labor Day weekend to join us in Grand Rapids.
In a year that has been unusually difficult for law enforcement officers, each of our speakers had such kind words for the professionals that serve in that role. An example was those offered by Justice Bernstein. Watch the video below.
It was deep into the pandemic, and my best friend and I were traveling across the state delivering much-needed cleaning supplies to various police precincts and police stations. And the thing that I always remember about this experience is calls were for going out from different departments, and they were asking for such simple things. They were asking for Clorox. They were asking for masks. They were asking for the basics.
So as we hit the road and started going to departments that had posted requests for assistance and for help in this area, you were always there. Everybody else was at home. Everybody else was focusing on their families, trying to keep safe. But you were always there. You were always reporting for duty. You were always on shift.
What’s amazing about what you do? What’s amazing about who you are with all the criticism, with all the harshness, without the spotlight? You were still there because you know that you’re part of something bigger. You know that you’re part of something meaningful. What I want to express to you today as the member of a vulnerable population, as the member of a political class, is how important you are, how important the work you do is. And I think it’s important that this needs to be said.
The vast, vast majority of people in this country are grateful to you each and every day, are proud of you each and every day. Recognize the sacrifices that you make each and every day. Recognize what it means when you put on that uniform. Recognize what it means when you say goodbye to your husband, or to your wife, or to your family. The vast majority of this country will always be grateful to you for your sacrifice, for your work, for your efforts, for your nobility.
People need you, and they count on you. And for someone who is blind, there are many folks that simply cannot defend themselves. We simply aren’t able to do it, so we look to you. We appreciate you. We hold you in the highest of regard. But most importantly, we thank you. And may God bless each and every one of you. The decisions that you have made, for the career that you have entered, and for the service that you give.
Thank You, Justice Richard Bernstein
On behalf of our members and department, we thank you for the kind, uplifting words spoken this day – a moment we’ll never forget!