Blue Springs Police Department honors members of the military with Wal of Honor

It's an amazing thing when young people voluntarily commit several years of their lives to protect the freedom we so preciously hold dear. It's awesome to think about what a young recruit goes through just to make it through basic training successfully. Then they commit to placing themselves in harm's way for the next several years, or longer. Many of them go to war in far distant places and sadly, some never return. How thankful we as a country should be for all of these men and women who so selflessly dedicate themselves to this noble profession. These people are the guardians of freedom for our American way.

You may not be aware, but many of these soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airman further commit to an additional duty by entering either the active or inactive reserves for many more years.

The Blue Springs Police Department has several full time Police Officers who also serve, or have served, in the active Reserves. Detective Kevin Lange, Officer Mark Grote, Sgt. Stacey Edwards, Officer Tommy Thompson, and Officer Shawn Williamson are currently enlisted in their respective field of service.

Officer Tommy Thompson has recently been deployed as a gunner's mate chief for the United States Navy. He will be gone from our midst and out of the country for several months. Officer Mark Grote will be deployed as a chief petty officer with the United States Navy in the very near future. Officer Grote told me that he relies heavily on the support of the Blue Springs Police Department while he is out of the country. Detective Lange said that while he was deployed as a master at arms in Japan several years ago, the thing he missed most was his family. I am sure that family is the most important thing to all of our service men and women.

In May of 2005, in order to honor our service men and women, the Blue Springs Police Department, in cooperation with the city of Blue Springs, constructed a Wall of Honor dedicated to the service men and women, and their family members, who are currently serving with the United States military. This wall is titled “Guarding Freedom,” and presents photographs of all the service members currently on active duty with the United States military. The wall is on the upper floor of the Police Department located at 1100 S.W. Smith St.

BSPD currently has nine members on active duty, one full time police officer, and eight family members, including:

Jonathan Frerking, son of Judy Hotmer, administrative secretary. Joseph Russell, brother of Officer Mike Russell. Don Rapp II, son of Sgt. Don Rapp and his wife Susan. Ruth Rapp, daughter-in-law of Sgt. Don Rapp and his wife Susan. James Gale son of Detective John Gale and his wife Jackie. Police Officer Tommy Thompson. Jared Kreissler, son of Detective Martin Kreissler and his wife Yvette. Jason Morton, son of Capt. Robert Morton, and his wife Sue. Travis Myers, son of Capt. Rea Myers and his wife Myrna.

These nine heroes are currently serving all over the world, from the Middle East to Maryland.

As the service members return from active duty their photographs are removed from the wall of honor. On this note I would like to very graciously thank the Blue Springs Police Department and the city of Blue Springs for allowing me the honor of placing a photograph of my son, Sgt. Jonathan Pharr, on the wall of honor. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to remove my son's photograph from the wall on Aug. 8, when he completed his four years of active duty in the United States Marine Corps. He served two tours of duty in Iraq and returned safely. For that I am eternally grateful.

I would also like to recognize Chief Wayne McCoy for allowing the department to support our service men and women in this manor, and particularly Capt. Bob Morton for spearheading this project and supporting it for the last three years.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing us to support our loved ones in this way.