Tuesday, August 28, 2007

My Friend Shaggy



My friend and fellow officer Jonathan Stuart was a great police officer and an even greater person. To me he was known as "Shaggy"; A nickname he aquired in the police academy for his likeness to the Scooby Doo's character (for his looks and carefree disposition). He was also the first officer I personally knew as a friend to die.

On August 11, 2007 at about 7:00 in the morning, he was making his usual long drive home after completing an overnight shift. On a freeway south of town, he lost control of his vehicle and was killed when his car collided with another in the oncoming lane. The other driver was also killed. I don't know what caused the accident but it appears he may have fallen asleep.

The night before, my shift ended at midnight and I joked with him on my way out the door. I had no idea that as I slept comfortably in my bed at home, my friend Shaggy was being air lifted to a hospital in critical condition. The surgeons were unable to overcome his fatal injuries. He died just before I started my shift later in the day at 2:00.

Officer Stuart was a three year veteran and the most liked person at my police station. The mood among us has been subdued since his death and I find myself thinking about him many times a day. He was the hardest working cop I knew who answered up for the calls nobody else wanted. He loved being a patrol officer and wanted to work the streets for his entire career. Policework was his life and his passion for it was obvious. He treated citizens with respect and made many friends with the people he served in his patrol area. He was honorable, loyal, kind, wise, and funny. He was the kind of guy you enjoyed being around and who enjoyed being around you. He was everbody's friend and put everyone else before himself.

I'm not fully able to express what a great person he was. I miss his grin, sarcasm, friendliness, and the distinctive twang in his voice he used when announcing his call sign over the radio. I keep catching glimpses of him -rounding a corner inside my police station or driving by in a patrol car -only to realize it's some other officer.

I'm sorry another person lost his life along with Jonathan that day. I know he would be devastated by this. He lived for the protection of others and, given the chance, would have sacrificed his own life to save that of another.

I don't why such a promising and important life had to end this way. I do know one thing, however: If there really is a heaven, Shaggy is up there doing what he always did down here on Earth -working tirelessly to make it a better place for others.

21 Comments:

At August 29, 2007 12:58 AM, Anonymous Brussels said...

Very sorry about your loss.

 
At August 29, 2007 7:57 AM, Blogger Wizened Wizard said...

I'm sorry you have lost your friend and co-worker. Your tribute to him is touching and makes me feel that Jonathan enriched the lives of those he knew and worked with - and probably many people he didn't know but had contact with through his work. You and your fellows have my sympathy as well as my admiration.

 
At August 29, 2007 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am so sorry for your lost. May each day keep you strong and safe. Kim

 
At August 29, 2007 10:09 AM, Blogger Loving Annie said...

Oh Gary,
I am so sorry to read about Shaggy's death. I am glad that you paid tribute to him. I am sure he will be in your thoughts many more times. He mattered to you, and you are man enough to admit the impact he had on your lives -- and on others.
With empathy,
Loving Annie

 
At August 29, 2007 11:12 AM, Anonymous gamma said...

Gary, I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. He sounded like a great person, one that you will always remember fondly. His personality sounds so similar to yours. Your words are an honor to him and his memory. Love Mom

 
At August 29, 2007 3:50 PM, Blogger 5150Wife said...

You honor Jonathan with your tribute, just as you were honored by his friendship. Your dept. has lost a good cop. You've lost a valued friend. And the world has lost the man behind the badge. I am so sorry.

K-

 
At August 29, 2007 6:11 PM, Blogger Gretchen said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend. :(

 
At August 29, 2007 6:45 PM, Blogger Mama Mia said...

My thoughts are with you and Shaggy's family (both in and out of the department). Your tribute to your friend was very moving. Thank you for letting us get to know him in some small way.

 
At August 29, 2007 11:11 PM, Blogger whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I am so sorry. I wish I had some comforting words to say that didn't feel like cliches. Since I don't, just know that Shaggy, his family, and you are in my thoughts.

(((HUGS)))

 
At August 30, 2007 6:27 AM, Blogger DirkStar said...

My deepest sympathies...

He sounds as if he is a great soul.

 
At August 30, 2007 10:49 AM, Blogger ER Tech Dude said...

Sorry for your loss and the loss to Jonathan's family.

 
At August 31, 2007 8:43 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Rest In Peace Shaggy.

 
At September 01, 2007 7:15 AM, Blogger Loving Annie said...

Left you an honorable mention on my blog today, Officer Gary ! (It is Saturday September 1st)

Hope that all is well with you, and that you have an excellent holiday weekend.

The compliment that you left me was cool. Most people don't see the combination... I liked that, thank you !

p.s. I think the latest story on Mhmmm Yes might replace your morning coffee... :)

Loving Annie

 
At September 02, 2007 12:23 AM, Blogger goodcops said...

Wow that is tough. I am a sergeant in Los Angeles and I will think about you guys. Is there an email I can use to contact you?

 
At September 04, 2007 2:56 AM, Anonymous 918 said...

Frater, ave atque vale.

 
At September 04, 2007 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thats rough...hard to lose a fellow officer...but one that close. Sorry to hear it

 
At September 11, 2007 11:01 AM, Blogger Aileen said...

So very sorry for your loss. He had a wonderful smile that you can see his soul through.

 
At September 13, 2007 5:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

RIP Shaggy.

 
At September 16, 2007 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rest In Peace Jonathan, and watch over your wife, your parents, your brother Brandon, and your sister Samantha. Eva

 
At September 21, 2007 6:38 AM, Blogger Scott said...

What a beautiful tribute to your friend. This is one of those rare pieces that really makes me feel regret for a person I never had the pleasure to meet.

 
At October 02, 2009 9:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i know how you feel we think about him eveyday and stephanie cant stop looking at his picture. Same with Ryan...RIP Johnathan

 

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