Monday night’s Garner police department banquet was an eye-opener in a lot of ways. Formally called the Respect for Law Banquet, the night’s festivities shined the light on a number of people who have been good at their craft or who have given of their times and talents to make Garner’s police department better.
One of the most interesting of those examples came early in Chief Brandon Zuidema’s remarks. He called on Mike Dreisbach to stand and be recognized.
Zuidema pointed out that Dreisbach wasn’t receiving an official award Monday night, but Zuidema said he probably should. He’s right.
As it turns out, Dreisbach is a retired CCBI agent (think TV’s version of CSI only without the dramatic arrests). Dreisbach finished one career for which he was paid and is starting on a second – related – career for which he’s not being paid.
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As Zuidema told the story, Dreisbach approached him in 2012 and explained that he had retired and wanted to volunteer with the Garner police department, helping them organize, process and purge evidence.
Since then, he’s worked about 1,500 hours for the department for the grand sum of a pat on the back at Monday night’s banquet.
All told, Zuidema said, that would equate to nearly $11,000 in volunteer labor Dreisbach has saved the town of Garner. And that’s only if you figure that cost based on minimum wage. And trust me, CCBI agents don’t make minimum wage.
For Zuidema and the rest of the members of the Garner police department, Dresibach fills a need that most of the other officers probably don’t want to be bothered with. Dealing with evidence can be tedious. Organizing it, recording it, keeping up with it would probably be like me helping my wife look for her car keys every morning. They are always in a different place. Never hanging on the hook where they should be. But Dreisbach’s work helps the department keep all that stuff straight. It’s detail stuff and most of us, well, we’re just not into the details.
All that says nothing of the money he has saved the town, which can use the $11,000 on other stuff people want the town to do, like providing parks or making sure the trash gets picked up like it should.
The arrangement also obviously works for Dreisbach too. It’s hard, I would imagine, to get up every day, go to a job, do your work and then, one day, just turn it off.
A career in any line of work tends to make us better at what we do. By volunteering with the Garner police department, Dreisbach didn’t have to turn it off from one day to the next. He got a chance to do what he was good at and do it on his own terms. How cool is that?
Volunteerism has its value. It may not come in monetary terms, but there’s something that makes us feel good when we’ve given of our time and talents to make something better. And the police department in Garner should feel good about the fact that it is thought of well enough that someone would be willing to come in on a regular basis and go to work for nothing.
And in that, there’s a lesson for the rest of us. Giving of our time and talents is a wonderful way to help others and to feel good about ourselves. Dreisbach surely appreciates the attention he got Monday night, but I’m also sure he didn’t offer to pitch in and help out because he wanted the attention. He did it because he wanted to help someone else. That’s a feeling we ought to all aspire to.