Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Night of Remembrance

Bubba and I attended an event last week. Not a typical Christmas party, this one was sponsored by Pemco Insurance as a benefit for five local police officers who recently lost their lives in the line of duty. Bubba's company works closely with Pemco, a company that is closely connected to the local Northwest community and I was looking forward to getting to know some of the people he spends so much time with.

Over the past two weeks there have been dozens of memorials and fund-raisers in response to these deaths and the community just keeps rallying. From a local pizza chain donating all their profits last Tuesday (to the tune of $125,000.00) to the formal memorial service at McChord AFB, the outpouring of love and support has been tremendous.

The executives at Pemco designed a casino night and there were a hundred or so people in attendance. Most of us were connected in some way to Pemco, either employees or vendors, but as I stood at the blackjack table I met two women who had heard about the benefit and walked from their neighborhood just down the street to join the festivities. Within minutes we realized that the three of us share the same first name and were all novices at blackjack.

After dinner, Bubba and I met another woman who contracts with Pemco and her husband, a Seattle homicide detective. At first, his presence at the poker table was intimidating, but after several hands we all loosened up. The evening was winding down and we needed to turn our chips in for raffle tickets pretty soon, so I started playing with wild abandon. Ten minutes later, I had turned my $10,000 into $100,000 and cleaned out everyone at the table.

Most of the evening was filled with laughter as this room full of strangers got to know each other and learned to play Vegas-style games with very generous dealers. At one point, the marketing director for Pemco got up to remind us of the reason we were there and when the room went silent in memory, the air was electric. There was never any mention of the circumstances of the officers' deaths, only an acknowledgement of this wonderful, connected community who has shown so much desire to support those who support us every day. I have never been so proud to be a part of this warm, giving place.


Deb Shucka said...

What a wonderful way to honor these officers and their families - with generosity and laughter and human connection.

Miss Devylish said...

That's super lovely sweetie.. Glad you got to do that. I wasn't able to but wow, it struck a chord.. xo

Carrie Wilson Link said...

So cool!

Rod Brooks said...

About two weeks have passed since the PEMCO Night of Giving was held in Ballard. I just now discovered your blog post and I simply wanted to take a moment to thank you for attending and for expressing your feelings where others could benefit from them. My name is Rod Brooks and I'm the CMO for PEMCO Insurance. I tried to get around to meet everyone at the event. I'm sure I missed a few. Two things that everyone I spoke with had in common was a amazing compassion for the families of the lost officers and an incredible sense of community pride... a real willingness to give back and make a difference.

Thanks for attending. I'm glad you "broke the bank" at the blackjack table. More importantly, I'm glad you helped celebrate the lives of men and women who work hard to enable the rest of us to sleep a little easier at night.

Best regards,

Rod Brooks
VP & CMO, PEMCO Insurance
"Northwest Marketing Guy"

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