Earlier this week I witnessed something that saddened me, moved me, and made me feel a sense of pride, all at the same time. I am sure the majority of you have heard about Griffin Police Officer Kevin Jordan who was killed in the line of duty on May 31 while working a security job at the Waffle House in Griffin; as you could not hardly watch the news or check any social media site without hearing of the senseless crime. His funeral was held this past Monday and his body was laid to rest in a cemetery just down the street from my parent’s house in Griffin. It was on my drive to their house Monday after work that all of these emotions hit me at once.
I first heard of Officer Jordan’s death the morning after it happened. I had gotten up about 8 a.m.that Saturday and was watching part of the news on Channel 2 while I lazily sipped my coffee. When they showed the crime scene, I recognized it as being in my hometown and paid closer attention to what the news anchors were saying. My heart immediately went out to his family, seven children and the other officers he served with, because I could not imagine what they were, and are still, going through. At the same time I was disgusted by the pathetic excuse for a human being that shot Officer Jordan, in the back five times, while he was merely trying to do his job.
Hearing of the news saddened me, as it does any time you hear of an innocent life being lost, but at that moment, it did not affect me too much and I went about my day as usual. However, throughout the next week there was not a day that went by that I did not hear or read something about Officer Jordan and each time it brought tears to my eyes. Two friends I went to high school with are now police officers with the City of Griffin and served with Officer Jordan. There were posts on Facebook from both of them, as well as people throughout the community taking to the site to express their condolences to the family in the best way they could. I have seen pictures of Griffin High’s commencement last week, where one of Jordan’s sons was graduating, with the stands filled with officers from around the state showing support for the young man whose father could no longer be there in the flesh. The outpouring of love and support that was shown warmed my heart.
I was here at work Monday when Officer Jordan’s funeral was going on, but was able to listen to a “play-by-play”, if you will, on the radio of the processional while driving up to my parent’s house to celebrate my sister’s birthday after work. There were several times that I teared up while listening to the broadcast and hearing the announcers describe the hundreds of officers from around the state who came to show their support for their fallen brother. It was a site to see the ladder trucks holding up the American flag as well as the helicopters as they flew in formation over the house on their way to the grave site. Chills washed over me as the radio broadcast Officer Jordan’s last call. But, what filled me with a sense of pride for my hometown, were the hundreds of people who lined the streets to pay their last respects to a man that most had never met. Griffin has its fair share of problems there is no doubt about that, but in the past few weeks, the community came together in a way I have never seen before to thank a man for his service and his sacrifice.
Just last week I was covering the Thomaston-Upson Rotary Club’s Public Service Awards luncheon which honors police officers, sheriff’s deputies, Georgia State Patrol, firefighters and EMS personnel for all that they do serving and protecting this community. One thing that stood out to me the most during that ceremony, was how many of the honorees thanked the club for hosting the luncheon noting it is one of the few thank-you’s they ever receive; which is something I find to be incredibly sad. It made me wonder how many times Officer Jordan received a thank you before that fateful night.
In my opinion, the men and women who voluntarily step up to serve and protect, not to mention run into harm’s way while the rest of us are fleeing, deserve a special amount of our respect and gratitude. They take on a type of job that not everyone could do and I for one am thankful to know they are there ready, willing and able should I ever need them. So the next time you see an officer, a firefighter or someone with the EMS be sure to tell them “thank you”, don’t let it take a tragedy to make you appreciate what they do. To all of those who are public servants, no matter which uniform you wear, I personally want to say thank you for all that you do and are prepared to do should a situation arise. You truly are the heroes of this community.
Ashley Biles can be reached by calling 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @AshleyBiles1