When it comes to hometowns, I have dual citizenship. I was born in Atlanta, spent a short time in Overland Park, Kansas, and that was followed by 3 years in Chicagoland. When I was 7 years old, my dad’s work took our family to Racine, Wisconsin. Racine became my first hometown. When I was 13 years old, the family moved to Lubbock, Texas. Lubbock became my second hometown.
I feel a strong affinity to both cities. I have to make at least on trek back to Racine every year to see friends, eat some Kringle, and sit on the beach of Lake Michigan adjacent to the historical Wind Point Lighthouse. And, I generally make it back to Lubbock several times a year to see family, eat at Taco Villa, and reconnect with friends there.
Lubbock lost a police officer and a firefighter last week in a tragic crash on the icy roads. I have friends serving both agencies. Every line of duty death hurts my heart. My own agencies here in Granbury have experienced it. We know the pain. But, when it happens in your hometown, it feels personal. My heart hurts for my hometown.
In typical West Texas fashion, Lubbock has stepped up to the plate. Citizens turned out in force to stand in respect, as the bodies of the two fallen heroes were being transported to the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office. A local dry cleaner offered to clean Class A uniforms for local officers and firefighters at no charge. Funds flooded into GoFundMe accounts quickly. That’s just a few things I observed from miles away. I am proud of my hometown.
But I was reminded that my other hometown also lost an officer in June of last year. Officer John Hetland served the Racine Police Dept. For 24 years. He lost his life, as he interrupted an aggravated robbery in progress, while off duty. Racine also supported their own in meaningful ways. As I watched from Texas, people from my childhood hometown also stepped up to the plate. I am equally proud of my Wisconsin hometown. And at the time of Officer Hetland’s death, my heart hurt for my hometown.
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of generous and kind people in the world. Choose to take pride in your own hometown. Be a person who supports your hometown in times of tragedy and crisis. If you desire to live in community, then reach out and serve. And if you are fortunate enough to enjoy dual citizenship, then serve both of your hometowns well! And when one of their servants give their life, let your heart hurt for your hometown.