Today was our holiday party at our Fraternal Order of Police Lodge.

As an active member of our Associates lodge we Associates (about 20 of us today) fired up the grill and stoves and cooked up a few hundred hamburgers and hot dogs, mac & cheese and beans for a few hundred deputies, their kids and neighborhood folk. Everyone’s welcome, no charge, and it’s a good time.

At 1 pm the kids (including us big ones) get all excited as this helicopter swoops in over the horizon and lands in the field and out gets the big man in red himself along with Mrs. Claus. The kids all get to sit on Santa’s lap and get gifts and the pilots hope no calls come in so they can chow down. Then we send the chopper back to base with a major doggy bag for the guys stationed at the airport. Today we had a raffle for a new laptop computer which made one deputy just ecstatic when we called him and told him and raised about fifteen hundred dollars for the lodge.

I’ve been an active Associate for about five years now and it is a great way to support local law enforcement. We meet once a month on the same night as our FOP mother lodge so we get to really know and work with the deputies (our mother lodge happens to be the Sheriff Departments lodge). We do a lot of joint events with the mother lodge and with other lodges so we get to work with other LEO and Associates.

I also serve as the Emergency Coordinator for the local Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) group and the FOP and FOPA have given me good area to recruit operators to pull together when the SHTF which around here is called a hurricane.

It made me wonder if any of the other members here are FOPA? If there is not an active FOPA in your area you may want to see if your FOP is interested in forming one. It is a great way to be “in the loop” and allows you to much better understand the world of LEO if you are not a part of that world or have left it a ways behind as I have.