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Mark Scott: Are you making a difference?

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in that gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”  Theodore Roosevelt

One year ago this week, two heroes fell while protecting and serving this community. Nick Smarr and Jody Smith are heroes, not because they fell, but because they stood. These two young men stood for what is best and most honorable in this world. As we look back over the past year, we honor them for the sacrifice they made in the line of duty, but just as importantly, we honor them for the lives that they led. Nick and Jody were men with purpose and passion. They chose a career that is dangerous, and often thankless, but which allowed them to make a difference. Nick and Jody weren’t just law enforcement officers, they were cops. Those of us who have been in this profession for a while understand the difference. Cops are in it because they care. Cops love the enforcement side of the job. They live to catch the bad guy, but they also love all the rest of the “stuff” that comes with the job. Cops are the people you call when you don’t know who else to call. We come when your dog is lost, when you’ve had a fight with your spouse, when a tree falls on your house, when you’re depressed and at the end of you rope, and when your child is driving you nuts and you don’t know what else to do. Those who knew Nick Smarr and Jody Smith can attest that they were both real cops. They cared, and even though their lives were cut way too short, they made a difference in people’s lives.
Their deaths mean something because their lives meant something. As long as we remember their passion for life and for their chosen profession, as long as we continue to strive to make this community better with every breath that God gives us, we will continue to honor their memory, and their sacrifice will not have been in vain. Nick and Jody each had a plan for their lives, something that a lot of our young men are lacking. They loved their jobs, they loved their friends and they loved their families.  Their challenge to us is to do the same. There are many, many opportunities in this area for people to get involved in the lives of others. There are countless young men and women in this community who need a positive role model and mentor. The opportunities for service are many and there is really no excuse not to serve. Are you making a difference?

Mark Scott is chief, Americus Police Department.