Champion Gymnast works as a Colorado State Trooper
When Charlie Jones was 18 months old, he came up missing in the house. His parents looked everywhere, but couldn’t find him. Finally, they heard Charlie laughing and followed his voice to the kitchen, where they found him on top of the refrigerator with his hand in the cookie jar. The next day, they put Charlie into a gymnastics program. He was a natural climber, taking after his mother, who also was a gymnast. “That was a big part of my childhood,” Jones said. “My parents were right there behind me the whole way.” Jones went on to become one of the top-ranked young gymnasts in the U.S. He earned 30 national-level medals, including 11 golds. He’s a four-time All-American, and he nearly went to the 2004 Summer Olympics on the U.S. National Gymnastics Team. Jones, an Aurora native, now works as a Colorado state trooper and lives near Mancos with his wife, Chelsea, and kids Ariella, 3, and Titus, 1. A new high and lowAt age 17, Jones was ranked as one of the top 15 U.S. gymnasts. He was invited to live and train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. His roommate was Olympic gymnast Steve McCain. Speed-skater Apolo Anton Ohno lived in the room above him. “It was a fun time in life,” he said. “I had opportunities that no one else gets.” Jones trained three times a day, six days a week, going home on Sundays. He was surrounded by some of the best athletes in the country. But he said he soon learned that even world-class athletes deal with ordinary struggles and insecurities. “I realized that you can’t find your identity in being an 11-time national champion,” he said. “My identity can’t be in that, because one day it will all go away.” It went away sooner than he’d expected. Three months before an important Winter Cup competition in 2003, Jones dismounted during practice, and his right shoulder separated. Doctors told him he needed surgery, but could still compete at the Winter Cup without further damaging his shoulder. Jones’ vault was crucial to the team score, so he went through with the competition. Several days later, he had shoulder surgery. “When I came out, the doctors said ‘We’re sorry, you’re done,’” Jones said. After his initial injury, an MRI had missed a razor-thin bone chip the size of a pea, Jones said. The chip had been carving away at the cartilage in his shoulder, and by the time it was discovered, he had almost no cartilage left. He had been training for the 2004 Olympics, and hoped to be at the top of his class for the 2008 Olympics. The hope was gone. “It was a shock,” Jones said. “I was supposed to be getting into my prime, but that went away.” The loss of an identityAs Jones’ life changed instantly, he thought of his friend Ricky Deci, a 13-year-old gymnast at the Olympic Training Center. He recalled Ricky’s infectious smile and happiness. “He was always having fun,” Jones said. “He couldn’t be brought down in his attitude.” When older kids picked on him, he’d laugh it off. No matter what came his way, Ricky was happy, confident and full of joy, Jones said. One day, at the end of a workout, the team was competing on the pommel horse. Ricky was up last, and to win, he had to nail the dismount. But when Ricky came off the pommels, he landed awkwardly and fell over. A trainer went to Ricky and discovered that he wasn’t breathing. Jones ran across the gym to find more people to help, and when he got back, the trainer was performing CPR. The 13-year-old soon was being hauled off in an ambulance. Two hours later, trainers announced that Ricky had died of a heart arrhythmia. Doctors said there was no way to predict or prevent the attack – Ricky was otherwise in perfect health. As Jones struggled with his injury and loss of career, he remembered how Ricky never let things get him down. “Nothing you threw his way could shake him,” Jones said of his friend. “He lived that way until the end.” Jones turned to his faith. “Those are the moments that make you think what life’s about,” Jones said. “It’s not about being the Olympic gold medalist. It’s not about being a super trooper or being the best at your job. It’s about the relationships you have with your family, your friends and God. ... It was easy for me to transition into the next phase of life.” A bridge to a new placeAfter retiring from gymnastics, Jones’ journey took him to South America, where he did missionary and humanitarian work for the next few years with Open Doors and 2nd Glance Ministries, a group started by his father Clay Jones. In Colombia, Jones helped liberate orphans from the oppressive FARC guerilla group. In 2011, he worked with Peruvian government officials and civic leaders to fight sex trafficking. After returning to the U.S., he coached gymnastics for about six years. During that time, he began ministering to former military personnel and law enforcement officers. One of those men was a former Navy SEAL. He taught Jones how to use a weapon, and Jones became a proficient shooter. Jones soon found himself expecting a daughter and wanting a stable profession. He applied to the Colorado State Patrol Training Academy in January 2013. Six months later, patrol assignments were available in Lamar, Colorado and Montezuma County. Jones and his wife had always wanted to see Mesa Verde, so they chose Southwest Colorado. ‘You’re coming out of it’Since summer 2013, Jones and his family have lived on a hill outside Mancos with a spectacular view of the La Plata Mountains. As a patrolman, he deals with people who are having the worst day of their lives, Jones said. He meets them in those moments and tells them it will be OK – people are there to help. “I like being a cop because I meet people on that worst day, and I help them through that process,” he said. It’s sometimes stressful, but because he’s grounded in his faith, Jones said he gets through it. He learned how to do that at the Olympic Training Center and with Ricky Deci. “Whether my job goes away tomorrow or I have a career-ending injury – I don’t want to invite those things, and I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt – you’re grounded and you can get through those trials,” Jones said. “You don’t always get out unscathed, but you know you’re coming out of it. That’s what being a gymnast taught me.”
The Dangers of Distracted Driving: Amanda Clark's Story
Virginia State Trooper Rescued Two Dogs
A Virginia State Police trooper made a rescue over the weekend when she found two dogs in Appomattox County. It was shared on the Virginia State Police Facebook page. The post reads: “VSP has gone to the dogs…as we have another K9 rescue to share! Over the weekend, Trooper R.S. Mann was on patrol when she saw two dogs alongside Route 460 in Appomattox County. She immediately stopped and found one canine was injured and the other – the one she’s holding – was not injured. The two dogs were together because the uninjured pup refused to leave the injured dog’s side. Trooper Mann found medical help for the injured K9 and a shelter for the uninjured dog.” The post has been seen by thousands of people since it was posted Sunday night.
Arkansas State Troopers Make a 10 year old Boy's Birthday Memorable
A group of Arkansas State Troopers helped make a 10-year-old’s birthday party a celebration that he’ll never forget. When Toxey invited all 21 of his classmates to his birthday party on April 2, not a single person bothered to show up. “Just heartbroken and helpless. It’s the last thing you want to feel for your kid is that no one cared enough to come,” Toxey’s mother Angela Andrews told local reporters. Two days later, five state troopers and Rhino the police K-9 showed up to the Andrews residence to kick off the public relations photoshoot of a lifetime. “Not only did they bring him a birthday cookie cake, but they also brought him all kinds of presents, let him play with Rhino, the K-9, and play with the sirens in their cars,” Angela Andrews wrote on Facebook. “They ate his cake with him and played basketball with him, All out of the goodness of their hearts. They made my sweet baby's day, and his year,” she continued. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I will never be able to repay the kindness you showed my family today!" Toxey told THV11 that he "cried a little bit," and that he now wants to become a state trooper when he grows up. So let's hope, for the sake of all the minorities in the area, that Toxey's classmates start treating him better so he'll end up becoming one of the good guys.
Man who Held California Highway Patrol Officer's Hand after Hit and Run Speaks out
It shouldn't take an officer down for communities to realize cops are only human. But when a hit-and-run driver reportedly reversed on Interstate 80 Thursday, running over a motorcycle officer other drivers risked their own lives to stay by his side. "All I could think of was that, to hold his hand and talk to him ... so somehow he would know people cared," Mike Vavak told FOX40. And that is all the injured officer's family could hope for. Vavak said he was knelt down in the fast lane, next to a woman who prayed over that officer's body. He says he was taking slow, labored breaths, but couldn't squeeze his hand. "The amount of emotion that was going for this officer that was down was really touching. Everyone was really shaken up by it,” Vavak said. But those he says he saw taking it the hardest, were the other men and women in uniform who arrived later. Those like CHP officer Jenna Berry who told FOX40 the officer likely stopped to help the driver of that truck who was stopped near the center divider. “We stop to check it the vehicle is out of gas or if something is not wrong, as when he pulled up that vehicle intentionally ran him over,” Berry said. Witnesses told CHP the driver backed into the officer on purpose, then yelled at him before fleeing. That driver left the scene on I-80 near Elkhorn Boulevard, stole a commercial pickup truck near Northgate Boulevard, and led police on a chase to Fairfield where he was eventually arrested. "We investigate the best we can, and pray for a full recovery,” Berry said. CHP has confirmed that the officer is in stable condition. The suspect's identity, however, has not been released. What we do know, that the compassion in Sacramento today overshadowed the cowardice of this act. "How heartless can you be to just do that to someone?” Vavak asked.
Retired State Trooper Still Giving
When retired state Trooper Steve Sulligan reflects on his life, he more often than not sees the many blessings. That spurs him to look for ways to bless others, especially children. Recently, Sulligan, owner of Blue Ridge Tours in Travelers Rest found a way to bless children and a former high school classmate who has become an author of children's books. Sulligan purchased 25 copies of "The Crumbgrabbers Meet The Honeylou Kids" a children's book authored by Susan Rochester Zucconi. The books, he said, will be donated to the Shriner's Hospital for Children and the Ronald McDonald House, both in Greenville. The books being donated are of Zucconi's Crumbgrabber series of books for children. Sulligan said he noticed on Facebook that his classmate from 35 years ago had become an author and he contacted her. "I thought it was neat what she was doing," Sulligan said. And the title of the book "grabs your attention. I thought the kids would like it. I liked it." So, Sulligan decided to help Zucconi by buying the books and to help children by donating them. The book donation is just one way Sulligan and his wife, Donna, give back to the community. Sometimes,their Blue Ridge Tour business donates a trip to a school that would otherwise not be able to go on a field trip. "We try to choose a school that we know would not be able to go," Donna Sulligan said. During one of the trips, they learned that some of the children had never seen the ocean, much less put their feet in the water. "That's what it's all about," Donna Sulligan said. The Sulligans also provide scholarships for students who can't afford to take a field trip with their classmates. When the scholarship foundation was launched in 2011, Donna Sulligan said she did not know there would be so many children in need. "We have now tripled the scholarships that we're giving to schools and we're also giving field trip grants," she said. Steve Sulligan, a native of Sayreville, New Jersey who has always loved working with kids, spent 25 years in law enforcement in South Carolina as a police officer and a state trooper. While serving as a state trooper spokesperson in the mid-1990s, he got involved in doing Safety City programs and talks at grammar schools. Sulligan said he was also the only state trooper to teach D.A.R.E. in public schools in Greenville County. Sulligan has also long held a passion for buses. When he was transferred to Greenville as a trooper, he'd just reached the age where he could learn to drive a bus, he said. In 1988, he started Blue Ridge Tours on a small scale to make some part-time money because "being a trooper back then, we didn't make a lot of money." The business, he said, "kind of grew" to now being one of the largest in the Upstate. Ninety-nine percent of Blue Ridge Tours' business is with schools, largely field trips with clients statewide and beyond. The business also drives college and professional sports teams on their road trips around the U.S., he said. Personally, Steve and Donna have traveled all around the world because of the job he's had, he said. "I've been blessed with what I have, that's why I give back," Sulligan said. "I realize that when U take a a group of kids to Washington or New York, that may be the only trip they go on in their life, where I've gone on it 100 times.
Trooper Chad Dermyer End of Watch Thursday, March 31, 2016
Our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Dermyer’s Family and the mebers Virginia State Police. Trooper Chad Dermyer was shot and killed while speaking to a suspicious person inside the Greyhound bus terminal in Richmond, Virginia at approximately 2:45 pm. He and other officers were participating in an interdiction training course and were conducting stops of suspects. He spoke to the man briefly before the man suddenly produced a handgun and opened fire, striking Trooper Dermyer. Other officers who were on scene shot and killed the subject when the man opened fire on them following a short foot pursuit inside the bus terminal. Trooper Dermyer was transported to VCU Medical Center where he succumbed to his wounds. Trooper Dermyer was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. He had served with the Virginia State Police for 17 months and had previously served with the Newport News Police Department. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Officer Down Memorial Page
Massachusetts State Trooper Saves a Driver's Life
State Police say a trooper saved a driver who had no pulse after a crash on Interstate 95 in Westwood late Monday night. Investigators say a 2015 Honda CRV was hit from behind by a 2002 Honda Odyssey minivan in the northbound lanes around 9:30 p.m. Both vehicles slammed into the guardrail and ended up on the right side of the highway. The driver of the minivan, a 33-year-old man from Westwood, reportedly had no pulse after the crash, according to State Police. “Sergeant Pardo Montago immediately began CPR and continued until Westwood EMS arrived. The man was then transported to Norwood Hospital for treatment of serious injuries,” police said in a statement. A passenger in the minivan, a 53-year-old man from Waltham, and the CRV driver, a 55-year-old woman from Needham, were both treated at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital in Needham for minor injuries. No names have been made public. No charges have been filed at this point in the investigation. CORRECTION:In an earlier version of this story, State Police had told WBZ-TV one person had died in the crash.
Support for Fallen Trooper Sean Cullen continues to pour in
Two weeks after Trooper Sean Cullen was laid to rest, NJ State Police say they continue to receive letters of support and condolences from all over the United States and Canada. “Although it’s been close to three weeks since the tragic line of duty death of Trooper Sean Cullen, letters of support from across the nation and Canada continue to pour in,” NJ State Police said in a Facebook post Monday. Cullen, 31, was killed in the line of duty as he stood along Route 295 while responding to an accident and car fire on March 7. The Cinnaminson resident who was born in Dublin, Ireland, was engaged to be married and had a 9-month-old son. Cullen was a member of the 154th State Police Class and was stationed at Bellmawr Station. He had been a trooper for about two years. Prior to joining the State Police Cullen was a member of the Mount Holly and Westampton police departments A GoFundMe page was created following the trooper’s death to offer financial assistance to Cullen’s fiancee and young son, and has already raised more than $170,000. State police said since Cullen’s death, they’ve received an outpouring of support in the form of letters as well as blankets, Bibles and sympathy cards directed at law enforcement as well as the Cullen family. “We would like to publicly thank everyone for such considerate and thoughtful gestures. It has not gone unnoticed,” NJ State Police said in a Facebook post. In a statement, NJ State Police said Col. Rick Fuentes has been sending “personally signed thank you notes” to those who have reached out to the NJSP and the Cullen family with messages of support and condolences.
Trooper Jeffery Nichols End of Watch Saturday, March 26, 2016
Our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Nichols’ Family and the Texas Department of Public Safety – Texas Highway Patrol. Trooper Jeffrey Nichols was killed in a single vehicle crash while on patrol in Lamar County, Texas, at approximately 11:00 pm. His patrol car left the roadway and struck a tree on FM 38, approximately one half mile north of County Road 35450, in Tigertown. Trooper Nichols had served with the Texas Highway Patrol for five years. He is survived by his parents.
Nevada State Trooper to the rescue...
A word of thanks. A local mother says a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper went above and beyond to help get her 10-year-old son to an important school event, but the trooper says, he was just doing his job. It all began with a tire blowout on the freeway. Dylan Chiti said he'd been waiting for months to test his skills. He was a participant in this year's Math Kangaroo competition, an international event where the best and brightest compete for prizes and scholarship money. "To me it felt very important," said Dylan. His chances were nearly blown, along with the tire, while his mother drove along 215 near Sahara on Thursday, March 17. "I looked over at him and I started to cry. The competition oh my gosh he's going to miss it," said Dylan's mother, Sandra Chiti. Chiti says that's when she called Geico Roadside Assistancebut learned a service tech wouldn't be there for at least an hour. Meantime, NHP was dispatched. That's when Trooper Adam Whitmarsh came to the rescue. "Anything positive I could do for her. It was her worst day and being able to help, that made my day," said Trooper Whitmarsh. "He said okay you have a math competition. I said: are you going to take us," said Chiti. Both mother and son jumped into the back of the patrol car and headed to the competition, walking in with just minutes to spare. "She said it's the only time I'm allowed in the back of a police car," said Dylan. "Do this all the time. I've been doing it for five years," said Trooper Whitmarsh. "Stories like that help restore faith in humanity," said Chiti. Their luck didn't end there. Mother and son later returned to their car to wait for the service tech when Trooper Whitmarsh drove by again. This time, he pulled the spare out from under the vehicle and got to work. "At that point, I YouTube'd how to fix it and i changed it for her, " he said. "He got on the ground and changed the tire so we could get home safe," said Chiti. A small kindness for a stranded mom and the boy who just wanted to compete. "I would say thank you. It was very kind and I thought I was going to miss the competition too," said Dylan.
Basketball team wears blue for Trooper Thomas Clardy
St. John’s always wears red and white, but before Saturday’s Division 1 boys’ basketball state final, the Pioneers were wearing blue. The St. John’s players all wore T-shirts with the words “Massachusetts State Police” across the front, but the change in uniform came for a good reason. The Pioneers wanted to support senior Tyler Clardy, whose father, Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy, was struck and killed Wednesday during a traffic stop on the Mass Pike in Charlton. “My dad is a 28-year veteran of the state police,” said St. John’s senior Joe Murphy, who scored eight points in the Pioneers’ state final defeat. “He knew Trooper Clardy personally, I’ve met him a few times. St. John’s is more than a high school it’s a brotherhood. Tyler Clardy being a senior, he’s a brother.” St. John’s wore its blue T-shirts in salute to Trooper Clardy, who lived in Hudson, during the pregame shootaround and on the bench, while several students and adult fans wore identical shirts to break with the Pioneers’ usual sea of red. Athletic director Pat White said two St. John’s alumni donated 150 shirts. “I got a phone call from the two gentleman who spearheaded this, John Quinlivan and Pat Bibaud,” White said. “They contacted me, and John said, ‘Pat, I’d really like to donate 150 shirts in support of Tyler and try to have the players wear them during the pregame and shootaround.’ ” White passed the idea on to Murphy, who was an immediate advocate, and the players decided to use the big stage — St. John’s was appearing in its first state final since 2011 — to show support for well-liked student and family. “Everybody talks about sports and winning, but it kind of shows you that for the kids who play, it’s about more than winning games,” St. John’s coach Bob Foley said. “It’s also about life and trying whatever way you can to help out a family that I’m sure is struggling right now. That’s why they wanted to support them.” White said Tyler Clardy returned to school on Friday to try to regain a sense of normalcy and that he was proud of Clardy’s poise and strength. “He’s one of those kids who if you ever forget a pencil or need a sheet of notebook paper, he’s there to help,” Murphy said. “He’s a very nice kid. He’s one of those kids you never hear a bad thing about.” Four state troopers also appeared on the sidelines for the game. White said they knew Trooper Clardy and were there to support the school’s tribute. “The Clardy family has been in our thoughts and prayers all week,” Murphy said. “State policemen are out there trying to make the world a better place. They put their lives on the line every day. I know that’s what Trooper Clardy was doing.”
For Senior Joe Murphy's interview click here
Tennessee State Trooper Comforts toddler on accident scene
A glimpse into the day of a local Tennessee Highway Patrol trooper has gone viral. We first shared the image Thursday night of an officer comforting a 3-year-old girl after a chase and car crash. “I felt so bad for that little girl because she was only 3 years old and she was as sweet as could be,” Trooper Mariah Harden said. Harden held that little girl for almost an hour, comforting her after a traumatizing accident. “I thought that if that was my kid I would want someone to hold on to her, let her know she’s OK,” Harden said. “I just thought that would help her, and it was helping me because I just wanted to be here for her.” The story started Thursday afternoon when the THP ended a high-speed pursuit with the child’s mother, who later crashed. “I took off that way because I knew there was a child involved,” Harden said. “I knew I wanted to get there quicker.” Trooper Harden was on scene within minutes, taking the child from the car and into her arms. “I’ve got a kid coming in not too long, so I felt like that could have been anyone’s child,” Harden said. “There’s no way I would risk my child’s life that way.” While first responders investigated and cleared the scene, Harden stayed right with the little girl, even taking the time to help fix her car seat. “Thankfully a Crockett County deputy helped me out because I’m not very good with all the straps,” Harden said. “So he helped me there and we got it set for her before she left.” For Trooper Harden, although what she did for that child is now getting a lot of attention, she said it’s all part of wearing the badge. “That could have been bad. But for a bad day it was a good one,” Harden said. “At least no one was killed, and thankfully that child was able to go home.” Since posting the photo and video online, it’s already been shared thousands of times. Harden said it’s bittersweet because Friday was actually her last day on patrol because she’s expecting a child of her own this August. Trooper harden has worked for the Tennessee Highway Patrol for only a few months. She was a graduate of the latest round of troopers.
Trooper Thomas Clardy End of Watch Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Thomas Clardy’s Family and the Massachusetts State Police. Trooper Thomas Clardy died from injuries he sustained in a vehicle collision on I-90, near mile marker 80 in Charlton, at approximately 12:00 pm. He was working an overtime assignment conducting accident reduction enforcement when he made a traffic stop of another vehicle. He had returned to his patrol car when another vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed crossed three travel lanes and struck him from behind. Trooper Clardy was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. The driver of the vehicle that stuck the patrol car was charged criminally with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a marked lanes violation. Trooper Clardy served with the Massachusetts State Police for 10 years and was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He is survived by his wife and six children.
Source:Officer Down Memorial Page
Alameda Hitchhiker says his life was changed by Fallen California Highway Patrol Officer.
An Alameda hitchhiker has nothing but high praise for a California Highway Patrol officer who recently died in the line of duty, even though they only spent an hour together. In an act of kindness, officer Nathan Taylor drove 45-year-old Paxton Brewer from Donner Summit to Colfax during his shift. Brewer admits he’s always been a bit fearful when it comes to police officers, but within minutes of meeting a disarming officer Taylor, he says that fear quickly morphed into a life-changing bond, turning a stranger into a friend. “He made a difference. He made a difference in my life,” he said. Taylor lost his life on Sunday after an SUV hit him in snowy conditions on Interstate 80 on Saturday. Taylor was wrapping up his work on a previous accident when he was struck outside his patrol car. Brewer posted his story alongside a photo of Taylor on Monday after learning of the CHP officer’s death. He described how he was hitchhiking back to his Alameda home after busted equipment forced him to scrap a ski trip. He was at Donner Summit when Taylor pulled up to offer him a ride. “My prejudices kicked in and I expected him to be the stereotypical mean cop, but he was anything but,” he said. The 35-year-old officer agreed to take Brewer as far as he could on his shift to a rest stop near Colfax. He says the slick conditions and long drive gave way to a conversation ripe with laughs and a lot of talk about his love for the mountains. “He told me about his experiences working in San Jose, the CHP in San Jose and how much he really enjoyed working up in the mountains away from the city,” he said. Two weeks after swapping numbers, Brewer learned Taylor died. “It really helped me focus on what’s important in my life,” he said. Now, the picture from their chance encounter is a treasured memento of an unexpected friend who left a lasting impression. “He really changed my mind about what a police officer could be and really inspired me to be a better person,” he said. Taylor leaves behind a wife and three young children.