Thursday, October 27, 2016

KAPPA BOOK & AUTHOR EVENING IN DENVER


In Denver on Weds., Oct. 26th, I was the featured speaker at a gala, sold-out evening benefit and book signing for the Craig Hospital Scholarship Fund and the Kappa Kappa Gamma Foundation Scholarships, sponsored by the Denver Alumnae Association of KKG. Over 300 people were in attendance. The novelist Ausma Zehanat Khan and the photographer John Fielder, both Denver residents, appeared with me.
The evening marked the 27th year of the fundraising effort and I was honored and delighted to be asked to participate and lend my support to these worthy causes. I had a great time and met many interesting, generous people who made my overnight trip to Denver a perfectly comfortable, enjoyable, and pleasant experience. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

REMEMBERING SGT. JOE HARRIS


Today, Mimi and I met Tonia Harris for lunch. (In the photo, she's the gal on the right.)The widow of Sgt. Joe Harris, she was traveling through Santa Fe on her way home to Colorado after visiting her parents in Rio Rancho. Seeing Tonia is always a treat. Smart, attractive, and vibrant, she has come through the ordeal of her husband's murder over seven years ago with remarkable strength and fortitude. So has her lovely, whip-smart, seventeen-year-old daughter, Ally.
Joe, a sergeant with the Sandoval County Sheriff's Department and a 26 year law enforcement veteran, was on a stakeout with his partner when he was killed. He sacrificed his life to save his partner and managed to gun down the scumbag who shot him before dying from his wound.

Joe was a hero, and that's not a word police officers use lightly about each other.

Joe was also my friend. We shared the bond of brotherhood that exists between those who swear to protect and serve. He also liked my crime novels because he knew I got it right when writing about what cops do on the job. His death was tragic because it was totally unnecessary. Had he been fully informed and briefed by his higher-ups, he'd be alive today to see what a beautiful young woman his daughter has become.

Joe was a total professional devoted to his career. He loved the job. He also loved his wife and daughter with the that same devotion and commitment. It was with Tonia that he found a way to have the richly fulfilling family life he'd not had before.

A bear of a man with a zest for life, he was approachable and had a great sense of humor. He was the kind of officer you wanted at your side on those tough calls. He'd always have your back.


My photo with Joe was taken when he asked me to speak at the graduation ceremony for the Citizens  Police Academy he'd started with the sheriff's department to educate interested civilians about the  workings and basic functions of law enforcement. To this day, folks who went through the training Joe provided still revere his memory.

I know, because they tell me so.

So here's to the memory of Sergeant Joe Harris. I've told you about him because I want you to know what the best of police work is all about, and to remember the vast majority of men and women who wear the uniform do so to uphold the core values that bind us together as a civilization.

And here's to Tonia and Ally, because they are heroes in their own right for all they've had to endure and painfully recover from since that early morning of July 16, 2009 when Joe was murdered.

When you think of them, remember the sacrifices families make for loved ones who choose to protect and serve.