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2/12/2017 » 2/15/2017
2017 ESA Leadership Summit

2012 Youth Scholarship Program Winner

What it means to me to have my parent or guardian involved in securing our community.

By Emma Soneson

 

When I was younger, I used to see television shows where young kids would bring their mothers or fathers to their schools to talk about their careers (usually exciting jobs such as astronauts, scuba divers, and musicians). I always wished that my elementary school would have a similar show-and-tell day so that I could bring in my father and show him off to my class. I thought that my father's occupation as a policeman was so cool, but it isn't until now that I've realized the full implications that his career has had on my own life. From the stories he has told me about the people whom he has come in contact with, I have learned about making life decisions and the aftermath of poor choices. From my father's own character and dedication to securing the community, I have learned what it means to be selfless and to always put in your best effort.

Before my father started working midnight shift and the whole family was always in the house at dinnertime, all five of us would sit down and eat together nightly. We could hardly get into our food before my younger brother would ask, "Dad, do you have any cop stories!?" He always did. My father had a wide range of stories varying from horror stories of the criminals he had to deal with to stories about rabid squirrels in the town. Though the rabid squirrel-type stories were the ones to get the most reaction out of us, I know now that it was the horror stories than in part helped to shape me as a person.

As a member of the police force, my father seems to have seen it all. He has had stories about drunk driving accidents, teenage parties that got out of control, home invasions, and more. Every student from age 10 to age 18 learns in school about risk behaviors and their consequences, but there's only so much that teaching in a classroom can do. When my father told me stories about the emergency medical care he needed to give to an alcoholic it became real to me. When he told me about a party where kids were jumping out of windows trying to escape the police, it became real to me. Through the horror stories my father brought home over the years, I have learned that poor choices really do have serious consequences. I believe my father told me these stories to in part teach me about personal safety. They have helped shape my character so as to make good choices, like staying away from alcohol and drugs. Even now that I have my license, I do not drive my friends because of the one-year law. Even though I am confident in my abilities as a driver, I have learned from my father stories the consequences of distracted teenage driving and I am not willing to put myself or anyone else at risk by having distractions in the car with me.

However, there is something that has shaped me much more than any horror story ever could. This is my father's dedication to his job and the effort that he puts into it. My father risks his life every day that he goes in to work. His career places him frequently into dangerous situations in which other people would be terrified to find themselves. However, even in the most dangerous situations, my father keeps his head straight because he knows that it is his responsibilities to protect the community. He has such a dedication to his job which is unlike anything I have ever seen. This dedication is paired with a strong work ethic and a drive to complete to the best of his ability. For example, as a firearms instructor for his station, he trains other officers what to do in all kinds of situations. He does not cut any corners when he teaches them and is out on the range for hours making sure that his students properly learn techniques and strategies that may someday save their lives. He wants everyone to know how to shoot, and he puts in all of his effort so that they can learn. His dedication and in situations such as firearms instruction has worn off on me. Of all of my causes and activities, I am most dedicated to school. I always get all of my work done, regardless of the number of hours it takes me to complete. In addition, I write and re-write papers until I know they are completed to the best of my ability because my father's dedication to his career has taught me to never stop until you've done your best.

Serving to protect the community is one of the most noble and honorable jobs in town. Each day, my father risks his life in order to keep everyone in the town safe. As a policeman, my father gives up his private interests for the larger public good. His choice of career has inspired me t also choose a career path in which I will be able to reach out and help people. In about twelve years or so, I aim to be a full-fledged anesthesiologist. It's a lot of school and hard work, but  I what I have learned from my father’s role as a police officer has given me everything I need to succeed. Combined with my ability to make good choices, my dedication and work ethic that I have learned from my father's career are the tools that will help me reach my ultimate goal. And with the ever-present support of my role model, I know I can accomplish anything I set my mind to.