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Lunch with Suzie Sawyer, executive director of Concerns of Police Survivors

As Ed Nowicki told me, "If you don’t like Suzie Sawyer, there’s something seriously wrong with you."

So lucky was I to have lunch with her this afternoon after her keynote at ILEETA.

“I love what I do,” she told me as we walked across the parking lot to the restaurant. “When we do summer camps with surviving children, I’m the first one up and the last one to bed. I get to help the best people in the world to regain their lives. Aren’t I lucky?”

Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) is a great organization. If you read Law Officer, then you know about some of the good work they do. They help survivors of deceased police officers to get their lives back—through camping trips, camps, support networks and more. Suzie is much of the force behind their many initiatives. (Consider a donation.)

“I never thought I would deal with death and dying for my career,” she told ILEETA in her keynote address. “But when 14-year-old Terrance Johnson killed two officers in Prince George’s County (Md.), that all changed.”

It was a revelation: “The more we distance ourselves from death and dying, the more we fail to value life.”

Her advice: Think about death and dying. Prepare a will. Update your beneficiaries every year. Ensure that your family knows what to do should you die. “Because,” says Sawyer, “if a bad guy wants you bad enough, they’ll get you.”

Lunch over, we walked back to the conference through the parking lot and hotel lobby. As we went several police officers stopped Sawyer to thank her for her work: "Hey Suzie. Thank you. I mean it." "Hey Suzie, I've got a will. My beneficiaries are current too!"

She treats them like family, laughing loudly and sharing hugs--people she's only then met. What Ed said: You've got to love her and what she does.

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