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Slain officer led heroic life

The aftermath of the Las Vegas carnage left many of us hurting — spiritually, mentally, emotionally or in combination(s) thereof.

I did not go to bed until 3 a.m. Oct. 2. I got a few hours of fitful sleep and then started writing my commentary, “No easy answer to evil.”

I was saddened when I heard that Metropolitan Police Department officer Charleston “Charlie” Hartfield, a first sergeant in the Nevada Army National Guard and an Iraq War veteran, was one of the victims. An 11-year Metro veteran, he was off-duty enjoying the concert; he immediately changed into cop mode when the first bullets struck their victims. In his valiant efforts to save others, he was slain in the hail of gunfire.

I did not know Charlie personally, but I learned through a mutual friend that his book, “Memoirs of a Public Servant,” was recently published.

I ordered the book Tuesday, Oct. 3 (it was not available for electronic download). I received it Friday and spent the rest of the afternoon reading it.

Charlie overcame many obstacles and became a professional soldier, an esteemed police officer, a loving husband and father and a revered youth mentor and football coach.

Charlie grew up without his father; his mother’s absenteeism left a hurtful void. Raised by a loving, Christian grandmother, Charlie learned about giving to others. When his grandmother fell ill and had to move to Kentucky, an aunt stepped in.

Young boys growing up without a caring father are more likely to drop out of school and suffer additional failures. In one chapter, Charlie bared his soul in describing his anger toward his father, who, despite being on his deathbed, would not acknowledge him.

Charlie could have easily fell into the snare of unemployment, poverty and incarceration cycles experienced by his African-American peers while growing up in Southern California. He did not. Most men would have become bitter. Charlie did not. Influenced by his grandmother’s compassion, he focused of what was good in life.

As a teen, he was loved and gladly received by his future in-laws. He later married a good woman, served in the Army, including a combat tour, and became a great father to his son and daughter.

As a police officer, he excelled at community policing because of his empathy for those he encountered during their difficult times. On one occasion, Hartfield used his personal cellphone to call the parents of a young homeless man who claimed to be a graduate of MIT. The parents were relieved to hear their son was still alive and confirmed their son did graduate from MIT but had been seduced by illegal drugs.

Additionally, Hartfield enjoyed the respect of his fellow officers and those street people he humanized during his contact with them. He will forever be remembered as a strong, caring football coach and mentor.

After reading his book, I felt as though I knew Charlie Hartfield personally. He has inspired me to finish my own memoirs and other stagnating manuscripts. I am confident his book will inspire others to overcome their past and help others.

Officer Hartfield’s heroic acts were not limited to his actions on the night of Oct. 1. He was a hero by the way he lived his life, always giving his best, even to strangers.

Hartfield pondered in his writings if he was making a difference in anyone’s life, a concern shared frequently by police officers worldwide. The thousands of folks who attended his candlelight vigil resoundingly answered his heartfelt question.

Thank you, God, for men such as Metro officer Charleston Hartfield.

Dan Jennings can be reached at bcpd267@cox.net or by visiting his website at www.danielmjennings.com.

Not on my turf

In early April, the City Council heard a presentation by Lage Design about staff’s recommended option to remove 35% of the turf at the Boulder City Municipal Golf Course.

I-11 is NOT the Autobahn

When the I-11 highway opened almost six years ago, it alleviated much of the heavy traffic congestion through Boulder City. But this beautiful expanse of open road brought with it a sense that “opening up” and putting the pedal to the metal is OK. It’s not.

New law shapes golf course design

I like golf. While I was in college, I decided to take a class in golf – you could call it a “golf course” course. I figured it would be a great way to relax, enjoy nature, and (maybe) boost my grade point average at the same time! For a semester, I learned the basics: how to drive, chip, putt. It was enjoyable. Many of my classmates that semester had been golfing for years. They were better than me, but I was determined to get a good grade out of the class.

The art of communication in consciousness

For Memorial Day I am exploring human consciousness with you. Many misunderstandings have been fought over the lack of a mutual perspective among the parties involved. What better gift is there than one that assists in the art of communication? My work in formulating the discipline of Aquarian Theosophy has led me to the following understanding of humanities’ reality; consciousness is the basis of understanding.

Alumni events, marriage and a real Nazi

Ron’s column from a few weeks ago inspired me to tell a story about a weird event from my past. Mine is not as exciting as his in that there is no wrestler named Silo Sam. But there is at least one Nazi. And, no, not the current “I disagree with your politics so you are a Nazi” version. An actual card-carrying member of the party.

Las Vegas Veterans’ Memorial to Boulder City?

Veterans’ memorials can be found all over the Silver State. They are well deserved. They honor individuals who served the nation, and also commemorate battles and events regarding the many military anniversaries in Nevada.

City manager bids fond farewell

I may be leaving Boulder City, but it was not an easy decision. From the first time I came in and met the staff and community leaders, I saw a city filled with people who truly care about where they live and work. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with some incredible people.

Is the grass always greener?

Many people in the past played a golf game to cement a business deal, didn’t they? They also played golf to socialize. Has Boulder City recognized lessening play on golf courses? Or, from another perspective, what happens when million-dollar homes are placed around our open space golf course with views of the McCullough Mountains? Do fewer people play golf on the Boulder Creek golf course?