Published in the Bernardsville News – Wednesday, January 28, 2009
To the Editor:
The community came together Friday, January 9th to honor and celebrate Officer James Hall, who had recently retired from the Bernards Twp police department after 27 years of service. We felt compelled to write to the community paper so those who didn’t have the pleasure of attending could feel some of the amazing spirit and togetherness the event provided.
Officer Hall served in a number of capacities while on the force, but none as dedicated as the role of DARE officer, a community police department outreach program. While the program’s focus is drug prevention, Jim’s inspiration and love for his community created a powerful residual effect. Proclaimed Officer “Hey Now” for saying the phrase untold times to thousands of his young constituents, he was also know for his classic high fives. Through his deep admiration for the children, he generated student respect of the police uniform and a deep admiration for community service.
The night was full of memories of Jim Hall’s tenure at the department. A few glimpses into humorous moments during his 27 year career exposed some of the lighter sides of being a police officer. The night included a few touching gifts including an official Township Resolution, a memory box with his uniform and badge, and a bundle of chewable cocktail swizzle straws.
But isn’t it strange when you least expect it that life throws you those moments that makes even the strongest person buckle at the knees. Emotions peaked when Jim and his wife Patty’s young son Patrick presented “the 5 reasons I love my dad” to the 120+ guests. You see, Officer Hall had a terrible battle with an illness and god willing continues to win the fight. Not many people get to be around to hear their young son reflect on your time spent on the planet. From his co-workers, to the Chamber of Commerce, the Explorers, local government officials, and close friends and family, our hearts swelled as their son expressed his love, admiration of his father’s service, and the pride for his father’s ability to battle with his illness and thank those in the audience who supported their family.
As we journey down life’s human experiences through birth, marriage, childbirth, death, you have to add community to Jim’s list. Community always was, and always will be part of his human experience.
We felt compelled to publicly thank him, and all the others like him, who have, and continue to support our community. People like Officer Jim Hall are the reason we have the word community.
All the best.