Yesterday, one of my friends was killed. I’m heartbroken. Sean Renfro, a 15 year veteran Sergeant with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department died while helping others. That was Sean. I’d love to say my first heartache was with my thoughts of his family, but my first thoughts were of my own loss.
Sean was off duty at the time. He could have just headed home, but he didn’t, and that wasn’t who Sean was. He stopped to help direct traffic after seeing an accident on a slushy, snowy, dangerous section of Highway 285 near Conifer, Colorado.
Sean leaves behind his wife, 4 children, and Mom…along with more people who are shattered than he would have imagined. Sadly, most of us don’t know how many people love us until we aren’t there to witness the outpouring of affection. That is one lesson that perhaps, we can all learn from this…tell people they matter to you WHILE THEY ARE STILL HERE.
One of my great memories is sitting around a fire pit in his driveway, sipping Scotch, smoking cigars with Sean and friends. Can’t recall what we chatted about, but recall it being so comfortable, easy and just a great evening spent among friends.
As I’ve spent the evening dealing with my own feelings of missing my friend, my thoughts turn to the family. I, along with MANY others, want to help…but don’t know how. His Mom, who lost her husband last January, what can be said/done? I don’t know. His wife, I can’t imagine the hole left in her heart and life. His kids, while they surely will live with the knowledge that their father was a great, selfless man, have a hole left that is seemingly too big to ever fill.
In these times, police are being protested, blamed, and disrespected and the target of so much misplaced anger. I must assume that these officers (or at least the vast majority) are good people who sincerely want to help others…that it’s not a job, but more of a mission. Frankly, I’m a bit pissed off that the national media spends endless hours on the death of “an unarmed black teen” (who just happened to have robbed a store, abused the store’s owner, was high, had drugs on him, and who charged and challenged an officer) while stories of officers like Sean will surely be sparse and short lived.
Keep in mind that Sean was OFF DUTY and STILL STOPPED to help fellow citizens. How is that not a trait to be admired and celebrated? I will miss Sean tremendously. As I remember him, I will always remember his smile, his love for his family, his service to others and that I would consider both his life and death to be incredibly honorable.
The next time you hear of “a bad cop story”…please pause and think of my friend Sean. He died helping others, off the clock, for no glory or praise. What a legacy to the life of a good man.
Also, if you are of the praying kind, please send those to the family of Sean Renfro…many of us lost a friend, they lost their husband, son, and father.
Sean Renfro…friend, family man, believer…died in the service of others….