Former Maine State Trooper Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award
Inside his modest room at the Gardiner Healthcare Facility in Houlton recently, James Brown Sr.’s aged fingers traced a laminated map of the world. The 94-year-old talked vividly of the countries he had visited as he did so, running his fingers along the curved coast of Okinawa, next to the blue waters that engulfed Pearl Harbor and around the circular Attu Island. But it was his career in law enforcement he spoke of most, albeit modestly. Officials at the Houlton health care facility said recently that it was that lengthy police and naval career, his continuing ties to it, his strong bond with his family and his shining personality that led the facility to nominate him for a lifetime achievement award through the Maine Health Care Association’s Remember ME Project. According to its website, the Remember ME project is one of theMaine Health Care Association‘s most popular programs. It features black-and-white photographs accompanied by brief biographies of pioneering, innovative and interesting residents living in Maine’s long-term care facilities. Brown was one of only 34 winners statewide, with only two coming from Aroostook County. Brown, who has been married to his wife, Anna, for 68 years and has two sons, James Brown Jr. and Kevin Brown, said last week he was surprised and honored to receive the award. Brown Sr. served nearly four years in the Navy as a fire control man during World War II. Following that, he joined the Maine State Police and served with Troop E in Orono for seven years before being transferred to Thomaston as a sergeant for Troop D in 1957. After reassignment in 1958, he served 17 years as a member of Troop F in Houlton before retiring as a lieutenant in 1975. Brown next worked as chief of the Houlton Police Department for another seven years. “I have a lot of good memories of my years in law enforcement,” Brown said. “Those were the times when I met the best people in my life. I had a lot of good people serve with me, and I still keep in touch with a lot of them today. Every trooper that worked for me has been in to see me at some point.” Brown remains so revered by fellow troopers that when he was hospitalized in a rehabilitation facility in Bangor, his son James Brown Jr. said, he was visited by a number of members of Troop E in Orono. “That meant a lot to him,” Brown Jr. said. The elder Brown also is visited weekly by current and former members of Troop F in Houlton. “Those officers have offered to do anything for us that we need, which is a testimony to the caliber of people that they are,” Brown Jr. said. Anna Brown, who is not in a health care facility like her husband but visits him frequently, said he has always been humble and has never bragged about his accomplishments. That was the case last week, when he was asked to talk about the most memorable case he ever worked on. Without elaborating, he simply responded, “I worked on all of my cases with someone else.”
Minnesota State Trooper Sets Eagle Free
State trooper Paul Kingery set an eagle free Friday near Hastings, nearly six weeks after he rescued the injured bird from along a Twin Cities interstate. No longer sore, Trooper the eagle soars again. Nearly six weeks after being spared a lonely death along a busy Twin Cities interstate from a collision with a car, the bald eagle flies free again thanks to state trooper Paul Kingery. Kingery not only rescued the bald eagle from its prone position on the side of Interstate 494 in Eagan and brought it in his squad car to the University of Minnesota Raptor Center in St. Paul for treatment, the trooper was given the honor Friday of setting this nation’s symbol into the wild blue yonder near Hastings, now that its time on the mend has came to an end. “Go! I just wanted it to go,” said Kingery, who donned protective gloves, sleeves and glasses before taking hold of Trooper at the St. Croix River near the Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center. Kingery was instructed by a caregiver to hold the eagle with his stronger right hand firmly gripping its legs -- one leg sporting an identity band -- and his left arm under the bird’s body. The eagle was docile throughout the prelaunch proceedings, even as anxious youngsters visiting the nature center hung close by. To the count of “1, 2, 3,” Kingbury hoisted the 8 1/2-pound eagle into the wind to help with the bird gaining loft. The children whooped amid loud applause as the eagle made a few laps overhead. “Bye, bye, birdie,” one of the kids yelled. Kingery was just as cautious in his first encounter with the eagle, which occurred on March 20 along eastbound I-494 near Pilot Knob Road. He used his coat as protection from the full-grown bird’s beak and claws while picking up the eagle and placing it in his squad car. Then off they went to the Raptor Center, where a one-year record 168 eagles were admitted for medical attention last year. Staff members there reported the eagle had internal injuries but no broken bones. And Trooper on Friday confirmed that initial diagnosis, with his fully outstretched wings upon takeoff.
Nebraska State Trooper Pulls Over a Wooden Car
Have you ever heard of a drivable, wooden car? Neither have we, nor had the Nebraska State trooper who pulled over a cedar covered 1985 Pontiac. Nebraska State Patrol shared the find on their Facebook page on Thursday. They said the handmade cedar car is perfectly legal to drive. The trooper stopped the driver for a license plate violation on Highway 281 near the South Dakota border. NSP said the driver handmade the wooden exterior out of cedar. And they say craftsmanship is a thing of the past … Now, THAT made us smile!
Minnesota State Trooper Writes a Card to a Family who lost their son
Lyle and Kerrie Pohlen lost their 16-year-old son, Johnathon Pohlen, in a car crash in 2013. "To this day, we have good days and bad," Kerrie Pohlen said. "We struggle to get by sometimes." The Pohlens say the loss of their son is like a void that can't be filled. Recently, they got an unexpected reminder in the mail that showed them someone remembers Johnathon. "The card was from Officer Tom Erickson letting us know that he stopped on Interstate 94 to help a vehicle that had a damaged tire and in that process saw Johnathon Pohlen's Adopt-a-Highway sign," Kerrie Pohlen said. She says Erickson was the one who broke the news to them back in 2013 about their son's death. "Officer Erickson came to our home and had to deliver news that no parent would ever want to hear," she said. Erickson says he's driven by the sign many times and never paid any attention to who's name was on it. When he realized who it was, the memory came rushing back. "To add to the difficulty for me, it was the first death notification that I ever had to make to a parent as a parent," he said. "It was shortly after my first son was born." Erickson says he sent the card the day before the anniversary of Johnathon's death. "I thought I should reach out to the family and just let them know that I was thinking about them that day," he said. He wrote, in part, "I wanted to tell you what a great idea and thoughtful tribute it is to Johnathon to adopt the stretch of freeway where he tragically lost his life." It took Lyle Pohlen an hour to read the card. "I would read, like, a sentence and start to cry, and I kept reading it," he said. "It's hard for me to read, but it makes me feel good." The Pohlens say the pain of losing Johnathon is still fresh, but knowing Erickson cared enough to contact them three years later helps. The Pohlens plan on having the highway name adoption take place May 7.