Letter: Giving thanks for local law enforcement community
As I reflect upon 2018, I experience deep gratitude for the very public and warm partnership we enjoy with our local law enforcement community. As a parish priest serving the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration based in our three community interfaith chapels, I look back at several moments this past year when our friends at the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, the Vail Police Department, the Avon Police Department and the Beaver Creek Department of Public Safety worked collaboratively with us to provide timely, sacrificial and effective protection of our congregants. I recall the constant and unpredictable demands of this summer’s terrifying fire season upon law enforcement and fire departments alike, not only in Basalt but also right here when we fed, housed and headquartered exhausted deputies and officers with the Salvation Army’s Mobile Food Canteen. I recall the sensitive and broadly collaborative efforts these judicatories undertook to balance freedom of expression with freedom of religious assembly during the later summer’s visit of an anti-religious hate group from Kansas. I recall Chief Dwight’s comforting presence and astute remarks during B’nai Vail’s recent candlelight vigil in the Vail Chapel commemorating the victims of the horrific mass-shooting massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh this fall. I recall watching deputies help distribute Thanksgiving food baskets from Avon Elementary last month, and finally, I recall with great gratitude the vigilant and protective presence of various officers standing guard as our Christian interfaith congregations celebrated a robust and joyous cycle of Christmas Eve and Day worship services. In all these moments both I and our congregants are deeply grateful for the partnership and protection we enjoy with these dedicated public servants. We appreciate the leadership of Sheriff Van Beek, Chief Daly, Chief Henninger, Pappy Kerst at Beaver Creek Public Safety, and any other leader who has helped us this past year. We pray for a peaceful and safe 2019 for everyone in law enforcement!
Reverend Brooks Keith