From the Publisher…July 2023

What is it like to wear a badge?
Each year in July, we bring you our Back the Blue issue. Filled with stories of officers from police departments across our area, these men and women who wear a badge put themselves in harm’s way every day. It’s not just a job to them; it is their passion. They desire to help. That may mean they bring joy to children at Christmas time. Maybe that means they stop a drunk driver before that person ruins his and other people’s lives. Maybe that means they stop human exploitation at our borders. Whatever that means to each individual person serving, we are thankful.

I have always respected our law enforcement officers. I try my best to obey all laws (other than maybe going a few miles over the speed limit – and of course, that is my car’s fault because it just wants to go fast!) My children learned early that law enforcement officers are here to help us. It was no surprise when, after years of working at a gun range, my daughter, Jaclyn Gooding, chose to be a Texas State Trooper. Like her family, she is driven and intelligent, and her dream came true. 
Was I scared for her? Of course, I worry about her. However, I cannot allow her job to control my life. I know she is where she should be, and God controls her every move. She loves what she does, and she is good at it. She recently competed in the female Top Trooper competition, which involved physical training, driving, shooting, and an interview testing each trooper’s knowledge of many aspects of their positions. She worked diligently to prepare, and I was so proud when she called to tell me she won! What an honor! 
Mike and I, along with our very close friends and honorary aunt and uncle, Paul and Stella Pratt, traveled to Austin for the award ceremony. Many proud family members were there for others who were receiving awards, including Trooper Trevor Topper for winning male Top Trooper. It was an honor to be among so many of our Texas Tan and know what a great job these men and women are doing. Congratulations to all who were recognized!

It is much harder on me that Jaclyn lives so far away, and I don’t get to see her in person very often. She has always been very close to me, and I miss her. But I know she is doing her best in a challenging job. 

Here close by, however, is a wonderful young man who is a Sheriff’s Deputy for Little River County. He also works very hard and tries his best to help those in need. It is always a pleasure to see Carl Jensen when he stops by to see his lovely wife, Alyssa, who also happens to be our editor. 
You see, we are surrounded by selfless men and women who want to help, who want to make a difference, and who want to protect you. If you see one of these wonderful people, please tell them thank you for a job well done. You never know what might be troubling them; it might just make their day! 

Thank you to all who serve. I, for one, appreciate all you do.

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