A Salute to One Who Serves

Cleveland Police Officer Jeff Stanczyk delivers materials for the children.

This past Sunday HandsOn Northeast Ohio sponsored the annual Homeless Stand Down at Cleveland’s Masonic Auditorium.  As a member of the Cleveland Photographic Society clevelandphoto.org , I was there to assist in taking photos and providing professional quality portraits for the participants.  While I was shooting near the entrance, in walked a Cleveland Police Officer who immediately attracted everyone’s attention.  Homeless participants, volunteers, the media, and children all seemed to gravitate to Cleveland Police Officer Jeff Stanczyk.  I immediately sensed that this was a very special person!  I followed Officer Stanczyk for a few moments and one homeless participant, watching me, said to me, “Be carefull or he’ll invite you to his retirement party.”  I decided right then and there that I wanted to talk to this guy.  He was kept quite occupied by people and I thought I’d try to catch up with him later.  An article published on cleveland.com http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2012/01/volunteers_lend_a_hand_at_home.html?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter   mentioned that Jeff had been circulating amongst the crowd doing rope tricks.

Officer Jeff Stanczyk talks with a Stand Down participant.

I finally caught up with Jeff a few hours later and said to him, “I heard you were planning to retire?”  We struck up a conversation and he told me that he had approximately 13 months to go.  He said he was feeling it was time to move on to new adventures.  In talking further I learned that Jeff had worked all of the Cleveland Browns football games for 30 years and had recently worked his last game.  He had watched Browns fans who he first saw at the age of 5, grow to adulthood and who now bring their children to the games.  Fondly he told me that the Browns had provided him with the opportunity to go into the stands and say farewell to many of these fans during his last game.

I found on Google that Jeff works with the Community Relations Unit of the Cleveland Police Department and it certainly didn’t surprise me.  Here is a man who embodies the what all of us believe a police officer should be, and most are, I might add.  In just talking with him for a few minutes I could see why he seemed to be known and respected by all.  I felt like we were old friends.  When Jeff Stanczyk retires, the Cleveland Police Department will lose a real treasure.  I will wish him the best and I salute his service!

About Kolman Rosenberg

My interest in photography began as a college newspaper and yearbook photographer during the stormy 1960s and 1970s. I was influenced by many of the great photojournalists and documentary photographers such as W. Eugene Smith, Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, Gordon Parks, Margaret Bourke-White and other black and white photographers of Life Magazine and the earlier Farm Security Administration. Though many of these photographers documented the horrors of war and the plight of poverty, they also showed me the dignity and adaptability of human beings in their desire to prevail.
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3 Responses to A Salute to One Who Serves

  1. Dave says:

    Very nicely done Kolman!


  2. Reblogged this on Photography Unposed by Kolman Rosenberg and commented:

    I posted this originally on January 25, 2012 but recent events have brought me back to it and I think it important to re-post it. I think most of us believe that most police officers are great people and we all appreciate what they do for us. Unfortunately the few bad apples get all the attention and lately many of those bad apples are dominating our news sources. As I re-read this I had forgotten Jeff Stanczyk’s connection with the Cleveland Browns and in respect to the Cleveland Police Union President’s remarks yesterday, it just seemed that maybe they should beg Jeff Stanczyk to come out of retirement! We need more Jeff Stanczyks in every police department!


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