Those who served us well

Published 3:51 pm Saturday, October 22, 2016

Photo submitted The past and present is shown here in the ground floor of headquarters building in Jackson of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Photo submitted
The past and present is shown here in the ground floor of headquarters building in Jackson of the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

Recently I was given a personal tour of the Missisippi Highway Patrol officesby the good Col. Chris Gillard who oversees all operations along with Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz.

We have had 78 years of dedication to our well being by these noble peace officers and this bottom floor exhibits artifacts of those who served and continue to serve us well.

Last week while preparing to give a devotion out at Troop M in Brookhaven for the active force, I was honored to run into a group of retired Mississippi Highway patrolmen who come back together annually for old time’s sake.

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It was a wonderful occasion for me to stand and talk with each and every one and glean from their years of service, most in excess of 25 years.

A couple had made it to captain and commandeered a patrol unit but most just served out long and faithful years on the road.

I may have missed some before they departed, but those I spoke with and got acquainted with,14 to be exact, and those living in or near Brookhaven are as follows:

Capt. Gary Austin (former commander of Troop M), of Brookhaven, Johnny Dawson, of Crystal Springs, Dwayne Burns of Bogue Chitto, Lynn Boyte, of Brookhaven, Johnny Leggett, of Bogue Chitto, and Larry Foster, of Brookhaven.

All had one thing in common and what emanated from them was a sense of worth and contentment knowing  they had done their best for those they served.

They are like missionaries who left all the creature comforts of home to go into the far reaches of the world to win a soul for Christ.

A little boy was asked what he wanted to be when he grew up after witnessing a service commemorating a missionary family come home from a long tenure into the jungles of Africa said, “I want to be a return missionary!”

What the child saw was all the applause and the expensive gifts given but did not see the sacrifices and scars upon their minds and body as some scars are not visible but are scars just the same.

Lest we be the proverbial hog who never looks up to thank the tree that let the acorn fall for him to eat, I place this column today.

All of these men represented our front line for many years when active patrolmen and are the reason I lived to tell about it and you read about it who drove the roads during their watch.

Thankfully, they lived as well to meet that day out at the offices of Troop M and relive their days while active in our stead.

Just them being out on the roads or sitting in the median was and continues to be a deterrent to crime and evil intent and made our many travels safe.

Most are grandfathers and are living the life we all hope to attain with a conscious void of offense and stress free.

Such was not the case while they served on the road.

They sacrificed a lot of family time with the kids and the wife, and many were the days and nights they had to face trying situations while out on patrol.

Now, they are in a catch up mode and reliving their lost years through those grandkids.

If I had the wealth of Donald Trump I would personally send each and every one of them and their grands to Disney World on an all-expense-paid vacation to help in the catch up.

My heart is always touched when I see a veteran of the military and on this day, it was my first experience to walk in on a group of retirees from the MHP and my heart was also touched as well.

We, as American citizens, take so much for granted and these brave souls are among those that we take for granted.

Yes, we are grateful for their counter parts who now monitor all our travels to make sure we arrive safe and sound to our destinations, all 33 who work out of the Brookhaven facility and offices of Unit 9, Troop M.

But, at the same time we salute those who served us well in the years gone by.

A tip of the hat is in order today to them all.

(P.S. slow down!)

God bless you and God bless America.

Mike Dykes is a pastor and story teller. He can be reached at