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WHAT "SERVICE THROUGH FRIENDSHIP" MEANS TO ME


July 05, 2000
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WHAT "SERVICE THROUGH FRIENDSHIP" MEANS TO ME

As a young police officer in Dundee, Scotland in the late 60's with a young family and wife to support, the thought of travelling to other countries for holidays was far from one's mind and outwith one's pocket. The odd two-week jaunt to a static trailer in Scotland and visiting relatives in England was what was on offer and within one's budget. We then entered a new decade and with it I discovered the International Police Association. Although at that time our local branch was not very active I persevered with my membership and read the magazines with relish. I began to correspond with a young German Officer from Frankfurt-Am-Main and exchanged badges and other police memorabilia. This officer's name was Jochen Breitenbach. Jochen is now an IPA Office Bearer in Nabburg, Germany. Around the same time I struck up a correspondence with a very young California Police Officer called Dennis Lovejoy -- more about him later.It is now 1972, and what started off as a simple letter writing exercise with the exchange of badges with the two above named officers grows into a full blown friendship. Things progress so well with Jochen and his wife Susi that in the summer of 1972 they come to Dundee for a holiday and spend two weeks touring Scotland. This is my first experience of entertaining Officers from abroad and it seems to go well. The friendship continues -- and then the big day. It's summer 1973 and understanding parents have kindly elected to look after our children as my wife Irene and I take off for our first visit abroad to southern Germany for three weeks with Jochen and Susi. Now I am beginning to really discover the difference being a member of the IPA means whilst in another land. We visit German homes, experience German culture and see German cities and villages as no normal tourist sees them. No one knows their country as a native knows it. What an experience. I'm hooked. Back in Scotland I decide to try and put something back into my local branch and take up position of Secretary/Treasurer. Whilst trying to increase membership, I am forever being asked by officers I approach regarding membership, "What do I get out of it?" I tell them, "You only get out what you are prepared to put in." The years march on. The kids get older and money becomes a little easier. My IPA membership continues and now I learn about some IPA houses in Holland. This is for us. Let's try an IPA house in North Holland. We can take the car and kids and it's not going to be too expensive. This is the only way we could afford to go abroad with two kids in 1978. Our first house is IPA House 'Kloeke'. We are welcomed like long-lost friends and spend two weeks at the house touring and enjoying the company of Dutch and German IPA families also vacationing there. There is no such thing as a language barrier -- especially where kids are concerned. This was a great learning experience for them and is the start of many visits to IPA houses in Holland and Germany. We form more friendships which persist to this day, and one Dutch family we met in that 1978 visit still visit us and us them. It is now 1984 and we visit a German IPA house at Bad Oeynhausen. I drop our cases in the room and approach a solitary figure sitting on a seat in the garden. "I'm Scott from Scotland," says I. "Hi. I'm Henk from Holland," says he in perfect English. The start of another friendship which continues to this day. Remember Dennis Lovejoy? Well, he is now a member of Region 29. We meet for the first time in 1990 after 20 years when Dennis and Anna come to Scotland for a short visit. The next year we went to California for the first of several visits and were treated with the hospitality one comes to expect from police colleagues. We also met and made friends with Bob Gieser and his wife Esther, Region 29. In March ྜྷ my wife and I are off to Las Vegas for our 30th wedding anniversary. I have duly completed my travel form and sent it off. What have my wife and I done at our end to advance the principles of the IPA, you may ask? The walls of our house have been privy to conversations in many languages: German, Dutch, Swedish, French, Finnish, Flemish, Spanish and AMERICAN! I have become an accomplished tour guide and my wife a cook to suit all culinary tastes. I retired in 1993 after 30 years, and at my retirement function in Dundee I had among my many friends IPA friends and their wives from Canada and Holland -- and of course Dennis and Anna from California. That's what "Service Through Friendship" means to me. I commend it.




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