First Posted: 4/29/2009
Are you one of those people who knows they need to write a thank you note, but you have put it off too long? Dont despair, you are not alone. I am also behind on writing my notes of thanks. I am lucky in that I can share my thank you note with you.
This is a letter to 1st Sgt. Justin Dodson of the North Carolina Highway Patrol, who is over Surry and Yadkin counties.
Dear 1st Sgt. Justin Dodson,
My life has been changed for the better with the contact I have had with your fellow officers of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. I know that you probably dont get a lot of thank you letters in your line of work, but I feel moved to tell you what I have learned.
It has been a long time since I was pulled over by a highway patrol officer. I hope it doesnt happen for some time, but most of all I hope I never have to see one after I have been involved in an accident.
Trooper Robbie Ellison, who, as you know, was injured in a rear-end collision in Winston-Salem last week, has been in my thoughts and prayers as he recovers.
I have had the pleasure of working with Trooper Ellison over the years in my work at The Mount Airy News.
A few months ago, I visited the scene of a tragic accident where Troopers Jimmy Selba, Robbie Ellison and Mitch Haunn were working at the scene. I was so impressed with their professionalism.
It was a chilly day and Trooper Selba was so considerate. He offered for me to sit in his cruiser while the wreck investigation continued. All of them not only treated the family involved with respect and kindness, but they showed me the same compassion.
When I thanked Trooper Selba for his kindness, I will never forget what he said. Theres no reason to be any other way.
I know your men do not have an easy job. I know from past experience back in my college days, I got caught speeding quite a few times. I thought of state troopers as the bad guys or that they were out to get me or make a quota. But now I know better. I know that it takes true bravery to do what they do every day. They never know when a routine traffic stop will take a turn for the worse or when they will have to deal with a family who has just lost a loved one. Or in the case of Robbie Ellison, be the victim of a crash.
On several other occasions, I have had the privilege of working with members of the highway patrol. They have been kind and friendly at every turn.
Just the other day I visited the weigh station on Interstate 77 for a press conference. Everyone I met that day was warm and welcoming. I appreciate everyones kindness.
I wish everyone could see what I have seen and know that state troopers are not the enemy, but a trusted friend. When they are stopping a speeding vehicle, they are potentially saving a life. We owe our lives to dedicated troopers such as yourself who put your life on the line every day.
In my dealings with the highway patrol, I have learned that they are a wonderful group of people, who are looking out for their fellow man. They are not just doing a job, they are heroes.
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter for The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 719-1930.