AWARD NIGHT        Written by Allan Holden      All rights reserved

 We had a big crowd on hand to witness the award presentation at last month's meeting! (Oct.2005) It was truly a very special night!

    Sheriff Blain Koops is a pretty neat guy, if you ask me. There was nothing artificial or phony about his heartfelt thankfulness directed toward our club. And he sure has a love for law enforcement! You could tell that by the way he repeated with enthusiasm the outcome.

    "The last two cases this club worked on were both brutal murders. Thanks to your hard work and willingness to serve your community, today two killers are spending the rest of their lives behind bars."

    Boy, that got our group pumped up! You would have thought we had just won the world series of detecting! It is so nice to have some encouragement now and then, especially when so much of what we get in this harmless hobby is discouragement!

    For a moment I think we put out of our minds all of the attack dogs like the environmentalist, the archaeologist and the D.N.R. Yes, finally someone recognizes us for who we really are, and it's about time these other groups and the public does, as well.

     Mike Walker, Shawano Cleary, and a Gazette writer are working on an article for the newspaper. We will update you on this at the meeting. Also, Shawano and Jack Short were on hand to take professional photos at the award ceremony. Shawano, a member of our club, has his own studio and freelances for U.P.I., A.P. and others. At the meeting he asked the club to give him all of our returned ring stories for possible publication in the paper.

     I think Ernie Lawson made a great point when he reminded me that this award belongs to every member of the club and not just to the group who participated in the evidence searches. We know that all of you would have been there if you could have.

    I can think of two faces that will not be in that group photo. One is Jack Short who stubbornly insisted on taking pictures! Also, my dear wife, Deb Holden, worked very hard at the crime scene, but was unable to attend the meeting.

    I have what I call my minute-man list and basically it is my e-mail address list for the club members. When a call for help comes in to the Bat Cave, I notify everyone I can for help. If you don't have e-mail, write your name and phone number, along with the words "Minute Man," on a card and get it to me. If you don't think that I have your e-mail address, please do the same thing.

    The Allegan County Sheriff Department is not the only department that we have helped over the years. We have done work in Barry County, Kent County, Van Buren County, Kalamazoo County, Cass County and even northern Indiana.

    This is something that we can be very proud of! We have searched for bullets, guns, knives, stolen loot, even bodies! And let me tell you, it is exciting to play a small role in getting the bad guys locked up!

    I keep thinking that I am running out of stories to write. Many of these evidence searches are still untold stories. Maybe I do have some material to work with, after all.