Colonel John T. Czernis
Florida Highway Patrol
Dear Colonel John T. Czemis:
In times when there are so many bad things being said about our local police departments I thought it would be nice to let you know about one of your best. Hero’s come in all shapes and sizes and most times in the strangest and worst of circumstances.
My daughter Sandra Fenton made the long trip from Crestview to O brien at least six times back and forth last month. She makes the trip so often to visit me with my grandchildren to lift my spirits, because of my disabilities I am unable to get in my car and make the trip up to see her very often.
On the sixth trip 5/4/08 (which was going home) she was about one hour away from her exit on I-10. Suddenly without warning her tire blew out. Traveling alone with just the kids in an older vehicle she was scared to death. She was stuck on the side of the road with three kids, one 15 which was ill, and the other two who are five and six. Everyone was scared. Her husband was hours away as was I.
My daughter had a cell phone but very little money and no charge cards. Like so many young people today she is just getting by. Although I had tucked a bit of cash under her wing and filled her tank we never thought something like this was about to happen. When she called me I was frantic. It was so hot and the oldest child was sick with a cough and cold and the little ones very hot and unhappy. Trying to look for her spare, call her husband and take care of her children was quite the task. As you know in Florida it is not like you can walk to the nearest exit and get what you need, especially on the highway with three children in tow.
Sandra called the FHP to ask for help and advice. It would be hours before her husband could reach her and she was afraid for the kids. In just minutes your officer Trooper Joe Hardy ID # 1477 responded. Seeing my daughters upset and fear he immediately took control of the situation. Advising my daughter all the way. He was helpful and kind as well as professional and courteous. When my daughter called to tell me he was helping them I felt so much better.
Trooper Joe Hardy made quite an impression on the kids too. Each of them getting their first ride in a patrol car. My 15 year old grandson now wants to be a police officer and says he wants to be able to do for other people what your Trooper did for his mother. As you know impressing a 15 year old is not easy.
Once again I would ask that you recognize this trooper for his help and heroism in rescuing four very frightened and stranded people. It may seem a small thing to some people or just part of the job to others but this was above and beyond and we thank him with all of our hearts and prayers. I would also like to send along a special thank you from Sandra and her family, she will never forget his kindness and the calming affect his presence had on the situation. If you would please see that he is sent a copy of this email. We would greatly appreciate it.
Sandra Fenton, Steven, Timothy, Jeremy & Carol Cullen