Double D: A Good man Gone.
Retired Quincy police officer Dave Dietrich passed away this week.
Explaining this most genuine man would be something akin to explaining a breathtaking sunrise or a beautifully recited poem. One really cannot explain authenticity, merely experience it.
There is no possible way to list all the selfless acts Dave did during his lifetime for people he cared about. Indeed, he did many for people he didn't like or did not know. He could not help himself. He was just a genuinely helpful, empathetic guy.
If you want to uncover a phony, stick him in the same environment with a bunch of seventh and eighth graders. They will find his weak spot and sack him like an unprotected quarterback. The Quincy Police Department stuck Dave and the junior high for the better part of a decade. Those kids never did find a weak spot. They did not find it because there was none. Instead, they found a friend, an authentic (there's that word again) genuinely caring man who is not afraid to put his time, effort and even money up when a deserving kid needed a boost. No… Let me amend that. Often the person receiving the boost from Dave was somebody you or I might consider "undeserving". To Dave, it was just another human being getting through a rough patch.
But there was much more to Dave that just his astonishingly good heart. While he would've been the first to tell you that he did not have the fastest or deepest mind in the world or even in law enforcement, he had something even more valuable. He had an open and inquiring mind. He learned from every experience in life because he wanted to learn. And, when he learned something he thought was really valuable, he felt compelled to pass it around and it usually was, indeed, valuable.
Unusual in a peace officer, Dave was slow to ascribe evil motives to anyone else. He chose to believe folks were mistaken, misguided or even mistreated. Nearly everyone had a chance to measure up in Dave's eyes. As a consequence of Dave's fantastic positive attitude, many did.
So it is with a good deal of sadness that I say goodbye tonight to a guy who lived, succeeded, shared, helped, learned and shared again. That is a pretty good recipe for a useful and satisfying life, one I will miss a great deal.