The Holy Spirit works in wondrous ways. A First Methodist Humble staff member suggested the church should do something special to recognize the tireless dedication of the Humble Police Department.

Senior Pastor Rev. Jim Flagg and his staff thought it was a great idea and began brainstorming. The next day, a First Methodist Humble parishioner made the same suggestion.

“I’ve been in conversation with others in the church and we were wondering how we might show appreciation to our Humble police and their support staff,” the parishioner asked.

With that, the First Methodist Humble Police Appreciation Ministry — now barely a month old — came into being.

“It was like the moving of the Holy Spirit as multiple groups came up with the need to show appreciation more or less at the same time,” said Flagg. “We genuinely want to show our love and appreciation for the women and men who choose, every day, to leave their families and the comfort of home to maintain law and order and help the people of Humble. I have witnessed our officers firsthand deal with people in some bad spots and their compassion and professionalism is impressive.”

Rather than bringing meals to the entire department, church member Sharon Mittag suggested a more personal touch. Her idea was to randomly select officers and support staff by pulling the names out of a hat each week. The church council enthusiastically supported the idea. Mittag and Flagg met with Police Chief Delbert Dawes and Assistant Chief Ken Theis to work out the details

“Chief Dawes was pretty emphatic that the patrol officers and support staff be included rather than command staff,” Flagg said.

The First Methodist Humble Police Appreciation Ministry is a modest process. Each Humble officer and support staff who is eligible is assigned a number. Two numbers a week are pulled out of a hat. The honorees receive Italiano’s Restaurant gift certificates.

“We include the family because there are incredible sacrifices made by the families of any police officer or other first responder,” Flagg said.

Flagg knows all about the sacrifices police officer families make. He is the son of two police officers. His dad retired from the Houston Police Department to become major crimes task commander for Fort Bend County and assistant chief of Richmond. His mom also worked for the Houston Police Department as support staff specializing in pawnshop detail, eventually becoming a certified gemologist. She graduated from the Texas A&M police academy and was hired as the first female police officer of Sugar Land until she retired.

“When I was young, I didn’t understand my dad’s compulsion to hug us and tell us individually goodbye when he left for work,” Flagg recalled. “When I was older, I realized that, if something did happen, my last words from Dad would always be that I was loved.”

Flagg appreciates how badly a police officer’s day can turn. When a suspect once got loose, his aunt, working in fingerprint detail for Houston, was beaten so badly she was forced into disability retirement. Flagg vividly recalls the night his father was shot and the aftereffects of a horrible motorcycle accident when his father was hit by a drunk driver, spending a year on desk duty healing and dealing with follow-up surgeries.

He also understands the stress officers and staff are under because the family never knows what might happen.

“My mom had bones broken. Dad was shot and stabbed. All in the line of duty,” Flagg said. “The average officer or staff person deserves a good deal more than they are earning, so extra jobs often come into play. There is a reason divorce is so high among first responders. We want our honorees to have some family time. A date night. Or bring all the kids along. Not have to worry about the tab.”

Faith is an important part of Flagg’s upbringing, and the reason why he and his congregation are so appreciative for the extraordinary work of the Humble Police Department. They also are appreciative of Italiano’s Restaurant in Humble.

“Italiano’s is very supportive of first responders, so we contacted them first and they embraced our idea with open arms,” Flagg said.

First Methodist Humble champions additional community programs as well, including partnering with Lakeland Elementary teachers and staff to provide special breakfasts and lunches, mentoring students and providing age-level books each Christmas to students. The church also supports FamilyTime, Family Promise, Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Saturday’s Kids feeding program.

Additionally, Flagg pens a column on faith for The Tribune each month titled “Musings.”

Drawing two names a week will take First Methodist a year to honor each Humble patrol officer and support staff but, with the Holy Ghost’s assistance, it’ll be an opportunity for the First Methodist Humble community to let Humble Police know that they and their families are remembered and are being prayed for.

“It’s a celebration of people who leave their families to look after yours and mine,” Flagg said. “Across the country, we see hatred and violence against police. In some areas, you can understand the animosity stoked by political issues, but there are many more good officers than bad, so we decided to celebrate and honor our police officers in Humble.”

Be a part of the Humble Police Department Appreciation Ministry by giving online at humblemethodist.com/give and choose the “Police Appreciation” fund; mail a check to 800 E. Main, Humble, TX, 77338; or drop the donation off at the church office.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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