Badges at Birthdays: Cops Celebrating Centennials

Badges at Birthdays: Cops Celebrating Centennials

By Stephen Owsinski

Recently, a few posts popped up in my newsfeed, each one unique and timely, portraying cops celebrating centennials: a few folks who…know a thing or two. Each birthday boy earned bragging rights for having been around a while, and LEOs gravitate to bastions of wisdom who can easily recount life experiences…maybe partake in a piece of cake, too.

Cops are known for fighting the good fight. Well, these gents befit that credo in their ways.

A squad of deputies from the Richland County Sheriff’s Department (RCSD) in South Carolina initiated a front porch roll call at the residence of a man named “George” who was celebrating his 100th birthday.

Upon reading the post’s purpose and description, it immediately struck me how attuned the law enforcement officers were to George’s dialogue and revelations. George may not be classified as a fountain of youth but he certainly possesses a world of wisdom. By the facial expressions depicted in the photo array, it seems the squad of deps were all ears, admiring the depth of a man who is close to a living encyclopedia about long life and the many roads he took to get to his centennial celebration.

(Photo courtesy of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.)

Any gentleman who wears a baseball cap that is embroidered with “60th Anniversary Pearl Harbor WWII” has my attention. It seems he magnetized the attention of a squad of LEOs, understandably so, since both share the commonality of fighting for good on behalf of others and surviving a litany of perils.

(Photo courtesy of the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.)

Gifted by the squad of deputies celebrating his major milestone, George is gazing at a law enforcement pin, with the etched inscription denoting “Heroes Live Forever.” Fair to say George is already chronologically invested in that particular credo.

In a similar celebration involving a centennial and law enforcement officers, a man named Joe Jennings in Sarasota, Florida, celebrated his 100th birthday in secured style on September 17, 2022, thanks to a Sarasota Police sergeant who dropped into an eatery for lunch and noticed a marked birthday boy.

(Photo courtesy of the Sarasota Police Department.)

“HAPPY 100TH BIRTHDAY to Mr. Joe Jennings! When Sergeant Schafer went to Gecko’s for lunch today, he couldn’t help but say a very happy birthday to this young man. His shirt says, ‘It took me 100 years to look this good!’ Mr. Jennings, we hope your day is as incredible as you!”

Fate or otherwise, Mr. Jennings and Sgt Shafer did it once again, thanks to another uptick in the former’s presence on our planet.

Sarasota police Sergeant K. Schafer “stumbled upon a living legend, Joe Jennings, who just turned 101! Joe’s secret to longevity? Keep moving!”

(Photo courtesy of the Sarasota Police Department.)

It seems these two gents have a happy habit of bumping into each other on birthdays…a great thing and a sure sign of community policing dividends.

In Wheat Ridge, Colorado, a squad of police officers learned of a resident’s 100th birthday in March 2022. What did they do? They spread the word, enlisted first responders from the neighboring Arvada Fire Department and Arvada Police Department, and caravanned to Joe Romero’s home to honor him and celebrate his centennial achievement.

“WRPD Patrol and Community Services Officers, Arvada Fire, and the Arvada Police Department, helped Wheat Ridge resident Joe Romero celebrate 100 years young! Happiest of birthdays Joe!”

(Photo courtesy of the Wheat Ridge Police Department.)

We turn to Pueblo, Colorado, whose city police force put together a centennial birthday gathering for a 100-year-old lady, at her home. One thing I marveled at as a policeman is the many tidbits of information cops learn from just being on the job and responding to calls, even if the gleaned background stories are not necessarily related to a call for service. Here is an example…

“Ofc. Jake Hill met a lady named Theresa on a recent call & learned something very special about her – she turned 100 years old this year [in November 2020]! Ofc. Hill bought a cake and a card and took Officers Marroquin, Norton, Mulder, Brown, Herrera, & CIT Clinician Kendra with him to help Theresa celebrate her big day,” reported a Pueblo Police spokesperson.

(Photo courtesy of the Pueblo Police Department.)

“I will say for her age, she is in great health and has a great sense of humor,” noted Officer Hill (who may also have a career in event planning).

From his police superiors at police HQ, “Well done, Ofc. Hill! We hope Theresa had a wonderful birthday!”

This is a small batch among many wherein cops celebrate centennials in elders’ environment, parlaying community relations with seniors who have seen just as much of society as the public safety badges who shared cake and respect.