May 28, 2021
Rarely a week passes when I do not read at least one message from Lieutenant Pat Metzger, our military liaison officer, who is reporting the deployment to or return from military service of a member of our Department. Each message I read reminds me of how many of our employees serve not only our state, but our nation and how often they are called up for active duty service.
Currently, about 70 of our employees are active members of the Reserves or National Guard. More than 400 of our employees are military veterans. Many of our troopers, deputy state fire marshals and civilian employees have been called up multiple times for deployments in recent years.
As we mark another Memorial Day Weekend, it is important to pause and remember those military personnel who gave their all in service to our country. A monument at State Police Headquarters remembers Trooper Sam Wilderson and Trooper Sherwood Williams, who were drafted into military service and were killed in combat during World War II. Many of you are related to or are familiar with Gold Star families
It is important for us to remember the service and sacrifice of these brave individuals. We are free and our country is strong today because of the willingness of so many courageous men and women willing to serve and willing to give their all if called upon to do so. I am thankful for them.
I am also thankful for the men and women who continue to serve in our military, especially those from the Maryland State Police family. Recently, Captain Prendi Garcia said goodbye to his family and fellow troopers and shipped out for deployment. Lieutenant Chris Stein recently returned home from yet another deployment to Afghanistan. He is now nearing 30 years of military service and has stopped counting the number of times he has been deployed.
Memorial Day cannot be just a day that marks the unofficial start of summer. It must remain a time when we pause to reflect on what compels brave men and women to accept our nation’s call to duty and the price far too many of them have paid so that we can enjoy a level of freedom and prosperity that few in our world will ever know. It must remain a time when we honor our sacred dead and we thank those who continue to serve our country by standing guard around the world to protect the land of the free and the home of the brave.
To each of you who have served, continue to serve, or have a family member who serves, I thank you for your service and sacrifice on behalf of our nation. Happy Memorial Day!
Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III
Maryland Department of State Police