Sorrow and Celebration – The emotional journey of the past 7 days



On a national level we remembered the 14th anniversary of one of our most tragic days as Americans. 9/11 brings back vivid recollections of fear and anger. Of sorrow and despair. And of perseverance and determination.

As a police officer I was fortunate to get to represent my profession in San Antonio as I and 69 other officers, along with 343 firemen and 9 EMTs climbed the stairwell of the Tower of the Americas, each of us carrying the name of a policeman, fireman or EMT that was killed on 9/11. This was my first tower climb and as we climbed, and paused in the seemingly endless stairwell, at the times when the planes hit, and the towers fell, each of us looked at the picture of our fallen colleague that hung on a tag around our neck.

Officer John Levi was my officer.

He worked for the NY/ NJ Port Authority Police Department. The agency that had jurisdiction in the World Trade Center. Officer John Levi was working overtime on September 11 because he liked to have his weekends with his fiancée, Debralee. He called her twice on the morning of 9/11, once when the first plane hit and again when he was in the basement of the World Trade Center searching for evidence. Officer Levi is survived by his children Jennifer and Dennis and his granddaughter, Katarina.

I never met Officer Levi, but I was proud to have him with me when my worn out legs reached the top of the tower in San Antonio on 9/11/15. The Jourdanton Police Department challenge coin and department patch that I carried with me on the climb will be sent to his family to let them know that officers from as far away as Texas remember their sacrifice and the sacrifice of the nearly 3000 that perished on that day.

A mere 24 hours later on September 12th, I was fortunate to get to join Atascosa County residents as we celebrated life and rebirth at the 2015 Relay for Life at the Jourdanton Indian Stadium. For the first time I was handed a coveted purple tee shirt…the shirt of a cancer survivor and invited to help lead the first lap, the Survivor’s Lap, as young and old joined in to help raise money and awareness for those who fight the dreaded battle against cancer.

From the sadness of our event on 9/11 to the joy of seeing so many of my fellow cancer survivors gather to support each other and those who are just starting their cancer battle, this was a week that made me proud of my profession, proud of my friends and neighbors, and proud to call Atascosa County my home. We truly have the the most amazing citizens… and I am blessed to count you as my friends.

Until next time,

Chief Eric Kaiser

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