It is not very common for me to carry my photo gear with me everywhere I go. For some reason this morning before I set out for a variety of errands and appointments, I ran back and grabbed my camera case. I just felt like I was going to need it. I wasn’t prepared for why.
I am going to keep this simple…because quite frankly this story is tough for me to talk or write about. I have number of dear friends who serve in the California Highway Patrol, Napa Police and Sheriffs, as well as Fire departments. They risk their lives daily, so I can live mine peacefully. Ya know…I work 10-16 hour days for my family…sometime 10-12 days straight with barely a day off in-between. Its the cost of owning your own business and doing what you love. I work very hard….yet it just doesn’t bear comparison to the men and women who leave their homes each day to serve and protect the public, placing their very lives on the line to do so (This includes those serving in our armed forces). I just cannot fathom this.
Today, as I was returning to Napa from Rutherford, I was preparing to exit Trancas/Redwood road when I saw an American Flag straddled 40 feet up between two Ladder Fire Engines. I knew immediately what this was for and I knew why I brought my gear. I pulled into a gas station, jumped out of my car, grabbed 1 camera, three lenses and ran to the bridge. I arrived at 12:50, while Kenyon’s funeral motorcade came just 5 minutes later. Timing like that isn’t just luck. I believe everything happens for a reason and is directly related to our purpose. Watching our local departments pay their respects was one of the most moving moments behind the camera I have ever experienced.
The story behind this is too difficult for me to write so I will quote today’s Napa Register on the Story:
“The body of California Highway Patrol Officer Kenyon Youngstrom, who was killed during a traffic stop in Contra Costa County last week, was transported through Napa by motorcade around 1 p.m. Monday.As a tribute, two city of Napa fire trucks parked atop the Trancas Street overpass and draped a flag from their raised ladders as a CHP motorcade passed beneath on Highway 29.
About a dozen motorcycles, a dozen patrol cars, two limos and some three helicopters were part of the procession that was taking Youngstrom’s body to Morrison Funeral Chapel in St. Helena.
Youngstrom, 37, who lived in Cordelia, died Wednesday after he was shot the day before during a traffic stop on Interstate 680 near Alamo. The man suspected of killing Youngstrom, Christopher Boone Lacy, 36, was shot and killed at the scene by Youngstrom’s partner, the Associated Press reported.
Youngstrom, who had worked for the CHP for seven years, was a married father of four children.
Youngstrom’s body is expected to stay at Morrison’s until Thursday when it will be taken by motorcade to Vacaville. A memorial service is scheduled for 10 a.m. at The Mission Church, 6391 Leisure Town Road and a reception will follow in The Mission gymnasium, according to the Vacaville Reporter.
A contingent of CHP officers will be with Youngstrom’s body around the clock until the funeral service, said CHP Sgt. Paul Hurt of the CHP’s Contra Costa Area,.
“We never leave a fallen officer alone. We will stand watch for him until the funeral is over. He will always be in our hearts,” Hurt said. “
To my friends who place their lives on the line for my family and our cities daily, we extend our deepest appreciation and thanks for your hard work and sacrifice:
California Highway Patrol:
Officer Mark Rensburger, Officer Joe Courtney, Officer Carl Abernethy
Officer Ryan Cole
Napa County Sheriff:
Officer John Hallman, Officer Erik Olson
Fire/EMT John Lane
We love you all and dearly appreciate your service.
To Help and provide financial assistance to Officer Kenyon Youngstrom’s wife and children:
- Two Bay Area banks have set up accounts to benefit the family of Officer Kenyon Youngstrom: At any Wells Fargo Bank branch, tellers will accept donations for the Kenyon Marc Youngstrom Children’s Benefit Memorial fund. At any Mechanics Bank branch, mention the officer’s name to the teller and direct that funds be contributed to the trust account in his name. Checks payable to “For Benefit of Officer Kenyon Youngstrom” can also be mailed to Mechanics Bank, 1350 North Main Street, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. Wire transfers can be sent to routing number 121102036 and addressed “For Officer Kenyon Youngstrom.”
- The California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation provides financial assistance to families of fallen officers, http://www.chp11-99.org, 714-529-1199 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- The One Hundred Club of Contra Costa County provides financial assistance to families of firefighters and law enforcement personnel killed in the line of duty, http://www.100clubcontracostacounty.org, 707-372-9440.
- Concerns of Police Survivors, Inc., or COPS, a national nonprofit organization, provides support for surviving families of officers killed in the line of duty plus training for agencies in how to handle tragedies, http://www.nationalcops.org, 573-346-4911