'For you, dad': chaplain honors father at Police Week run

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton
  • 501st Combat Support Wing Public Affairs
Carrying a weighted camouflage backpack and sporting a knee-brace over top of his uniform, Chaplain (Maj.) Jack Stanley, ran along the perimeter road around RAF Croughton, England, May 11.

Still recovering from a recent surgery, the 422nd Air Base Group chaplain pushed himself onward - uttering a single phrase of self-motivation.

"For you, dad," he said, as he ran during a ruck march in support of National Police Week.

Started in 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as Peace Officers' Memorial Day, and the week in which the date falls as Police Week, the international event is meant to honor those officers who paid the ultimate sacrifice to serve and protect their communities.

"My dad was a lifelong peace officer who retired a few years ago," Stanley said. "He has Parkinson's disease, which keeps getting worse and worse. All of that came to light when I was running out here. I can do this for dad."

Stanley said even though his father wasn't killed in the line of duty, he still wanted to show his solidarity with all law enforcement officers, while at the same time honoring his father. Over the hills and valleys that made up the perimeter road at RAF Croughton, Stanley and other Airmen from the base, pushed themselves through the five kilometer memorial run.

"He didn't die serving as a peace officer, but he gave his life throughout 35 years of service," Stanley said. "In many ways, he is a hero back home."

Hailing from a small town just outside Williard, Penn., Stanley was able to see the impact his father had on their community. It instilled a lifelong appreciation for law enforcement.

"This has been a tough year for peace officers in so many ways," he said. "I think now is the time we need to stop to thank and honor those who don't get paid well enough, work hard, work long hours, give up family time and take risks others don't to ensure we all sleep well at night."

In 2014, 117 law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty in the United States. From Jan. 1 to May 12, 2015, 46 officers have fallen. Stanley said his father would be proud to see the support given by the 501st Combat Support Wing during Police Week.

"It's a wonderful thing that they do," Stanley said. "We can never thank them enough. They should be proud of what they do. It's priceless and sets the standard for the rest of society."

Stanley said it truly inspires him to see that society still has children who aspire to serve and protect their community.

"No matter what people say, little kids still want to be policemen, or a fireman, when they grow up," he said. "There's a reason for that. Those kids are proud and know those peace officers keep the world safe, every day."

On any given day, there are roughly 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers working to ensure communities through America remain safe. Stanley said the least he could do was come out with fellow Airmen to send a message of gratitude to those individuals who served, like his father.

"My father was a 'good cop' in the best sense of the word," he said. "I'm honored we get to do our part to support him and all the other cops out there."