Medford PD has approx. 25 active Volunteers. They work a variety of non-criminal(yet essential)jobs that free up both our sworn and civilian employees for other priority tasks. Most of our Volunteers are seniors, and they are a bunch of quality folks doing the right thing for their community.
My problem is that I don’t know much about them individually…and that is all on me. I should know more about folks that work for MPD, especially the ones that do it for free. These folks have the best intentions for both MPD and the community they call home.
Stuart Skeel was one of those Volunteers that I knew very little about other than his reliability and his constant smile while at work. I never took the time to learn more about him-my mistake.
Stuart passed away on August 14th, 2014 at the fine age of 92. 92 and still working for us-and for free! Who does that? The man was more than amazing……suffering from a terminal blood disease, yet he worked at MPD approx. one week prior to his death. Who does that? At 92 yrs. of age I would see him at the gym lifting weights or on a cardio machine. Seriously, who does that?
Stuart did all of that and then some. After his passing I learned even more about this great man, and the life he lived to the fullest:
-He was a Naval Officer in WWII
-He was a High School Science Teacher for 32 years.
-He was successful High School Baseball Coach
-He built two homes
-He was a prior Volunteer with both Long Beach and Signal Hill Police Departments.
To quote an old Joni Mitchell song, you really “don’t know what you had(got)until it’s gone”…. I miss this man, and I’m sad that I did not take the time to learn from him.
Stuart had an amazing life, and an amazing outlook on life. Never without a smile and a quick joke….he knew that his passing was near. He was not afraid of that either, as he was a man of great faith. His most recent favorite saying was that he had “gotten in at the right time, and was now getting out at the right time.”
I wish I had taken the time to know Stuart more. I’m sure that I would have been better because that effort. His wife Peggy told me recently that volunteering at MPD meant a lot to Stuart, and that he scheduled around that. MPD and his community were a priority to him. For that I am grateful.
Stuart left his mark on us….some for than others. While I failed at learning more about him when he was with us, I did learn much more now that he’s gone. His legacy will be with us all for much longer.
Rest in peace Stuart, we have it from here. You made a difference. You will be missed!
Chief of Police