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Ram charges police officer

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POSTED April 9, 2010 2:23 a.m.
Every day is a new adventure – not just for me but also for every member of my family – including my youngest son Tim who is a police officer in a city by the southern border.

He called me on my cell as I was headed toward a new grandson’s baptism in Morgan Hill on Saturday.  He’d had a run-in with a ram that had paid a visit to a convenience store on his beat.  The animal had wandered away from his flock of a half dozen sheep that were being kept at a nearby construction project.

The owners had corralled the animal in their storeroom until officers could respond – opening the door and letting him out when the officer came through the front door.  The ram appeared to bring a charge toward Tim who had a momentary concern as to how he was going to defend himself – saying he had hoped he wouldn’t have to shoot the animal.

At that point the ram slowed from a run to a walk and actually licked his hand much like a friendly dog might do in the same situation.  After being surprised by the friendly encounter, he said the animal leaned against his leg – also something a pet dog might naturally do.  He was equally surprised when he moved away and the ram brayed his apparent discontent in the separation.  The animal then moved back next to him and snuggled against his leg again.

It wasn’t long before an animal control officer responded to the scene and put a lasso around the neck of the wanderer, escorting him back over to the construction site and his family of sheep.  Obviously domesticated, he wasn’t ready to leave his newfound friend in uniform.  It’s bad enough Tim’s dad writes an occasional column, but one of his officers had to show up with his camera and snap a picture of the ram’s kiss.  Undoubtedly everyone in the department will see that picture posted some place at work.

That brings up other stories
That light-hearted story brings back another memory of long ago when my brother-in-law Pete was an officer with the same department.  While on routine patrol on a Sunday morning he received a call from the dispatcher of a horse running loose on the edge of the city.  After finding a rope and locating the romping steed, he was successful in lassoing the runaway out the driver’s window of his patrol car.

Speaking of adventures, I will never forget a traffic accident I came upon when working as a general assignment reporter for the Gannett-owned Sun-Telegram in San Bernardino years ago.

The crash was between a motorcycle rider and a car at a city intersection.   Unaware that a Hell’s Angels rider was involved, reality soon hit me when I came nose to nose with one of their members.  Fortunately a police officer was standing right behind me and discouraged the guy from busting up my camera.

Then there was the roll-out of the city’s new 100-foot ladder fire truck last year.  That was a fun ride to what seemed like the top of the world while shooting straight down the ladder at the firemen standing below.

For me every day is filled with adventure – some fun and others a little dangerous, I guess.  But being back in the shoes of a newspaper reporter is fun and really the best job ever – they even pay me a salary for my trouble.  And when you are lucky, sometimes a reporter can make a difference for the better.

McNerney stepping up to help WWII veteran
One of the more positive actions this week came out of Representative Jerry McNerny’s public information officer Sarah Hersh,who had responded to the lack of movement in supporting retired minister Henry Holmes of Lathrop.

Holmes had been injured while a member of an all black Navy unit at the Port of Chicago in the early part of World War II.  His requests for help from the Veterans Administration have pretty much fallen on deaf ears.

McNerney’s field office in Stockton – at Hersh’s lead – set up a meeting with Holmes two weeks ago.  Yesterday Hersh called saying the VA had agreed to extend the open period of Holmes’ appeal to the denial of his claim to the end of August.

It was good news for Holmes, now in his 80s, who tells me he finally has someone in his corner, someone he feels cares about the outcome of his injury.  Ironically that back injury – worsening with age – occurred at the same time most of his unit lost their lives in a massive ordnance explosion on the docks of the Port of Chicago.

While the Navy reports they have been unable to locate any medical records of that injury, Holmes is still in contact with a Navy buddy of that era who serves as a witness.

As for Sara Hersh in McNerny’s Washington, D.C., office she says the next step is to research possible unit Navy log records in her attempt to help the Lathrop World War II survivor.
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