Home arrow Blog Format arrow Commander's Mission Brief
Commander's Mission Brief Print E-mail
Written by Ray Fairman   
Digg!

To read the first draft of my second book

"Are You Destined To Lead" 

use the Leadership Lessons Tab to the right.

A new chapter will be added every other week until I run out of them.

 

FCSO 1982
Chaplain Fairman
The purpose of this section is to let you know something about the person who is running this website and to keep you abrest of my current books by directing you to the article entitled BoxingYour Moral Compass.

I'm going to tell you a little about me and why I am running this website. If it wasn't for Christ then I would never have come to this point in my life. I was born into a family lineage that really never displayed to me any hint that any of them had any knowledge of the Gospel of Christ. I don't know if any of my family on either my mother's or father's sides ever knew Christ or His salvation but if they did they never let me in on it. So as you might well conclude I am not a person who can say, "I have been a Christian all my life."

As a sidebar to that, I have a friend and brother Chaplain named Kevin who is also a Marine and former LEO, who has been the Chaplain of the FSU Seminoles football team and the Chaplain for the UGA Bulldogs football team, Kevin likes to ask people he meets if they are Christians and when they respond that they are, he asks "how long have you been a Christian?" If they respond "All my life", then he tells them they need to come see him in their free time so he can really show them the plan of salvation, because as Kevin puts it to them, you aren't born a Christian and you don't get there based on your parents relationship with Christ, you get there based on your own relationship with Christ.

Anyway, back to my early years. I was born in ancient times in the year of our Lord 1945 as WWII was fading from the scene. My mother was a factory worker who worked at Pratt & Whitney and at Colt Firearms in support of the war effort. My father was a Marine Corps Master Sergeant who flew in the Gilbert and Solomon Islands Campaigns. Dad elected to stay in the Marines after the war and make a career of it. In 1950 my mother died during childbirth as did the sister I never knew. My dad shipped me off to live with my grandparents on a rotating basis. When I was with my mother's side of the family I was told how bad my dad was and that he was responsible for mom's death. They told my dad that a lot too I guess and eventually I began to see the results as dad took to alcohol like a duck takes to water.

I watched sometimes from near and sometimes from afar as his attempts to find peace resulted in more than 10 marriages and cohabitations that really left him a functioning alcoholic. Later I found out that my mom died from medical complications during childbirth and not as a result of anything for which my dad was responsible. But I watched as dad lost his compassion and his sense of purpose. So, I was for all intents and purposes on my own from about 12 YOA. I ended up living with various relatives, mostly on mom's side of the family and even with some friends I met through school. I went to 17 different schools before I graduated from San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara CA in June of 1963. I was a kid with no conscience and a finely tuned sense of self-centeredness. I learned to take care of number 1 in a pretty good fashion. I was never on the skyline of any law enforcement radar, but I was somewhat active below that threshold. I would have been a lost cause, I am sure, today if a family, Dick & Emmy Nell Ernstrom, & their son Rick had not become my surrogate family. Through participation in Christian Service Brigade at Grace Church in Santa Barbara California, and their example of living their Christian Witness everyday instead of just preaching it to me, I learned that even a kid as bad and screwed up as I was becoming could belong to Christ. I learned that God loved me even if I didn't feel that anyone else did. (Believe me I felt that way a good deal of the time as a kid growing up and at times, even as an adult)

I came to understand the real meaning of being a follower of Christ, Who loved sinners but detested their sin so much that He died for them while they were yet living in that sin. That was a bit hard for me to grasp at first. You see I felt that I needed to do something myself and the fact that I had nothing to do to earn that salvation was not easy for a kid who had to take care of himself to accept.

I would say I learned about salvation and the Gospel, but that would not be totally accurate, as I only began to learn, a process that has continued over the last 45 years and is still continuing I pray to this very day. Even being influenced daily it took from about 12 or 13 years of age until I was 16 years old to understand and accept that the availability of forgiveness, grace and love was waiting for me through Christ. Even after I reached that necessary point of brokenness in my life and accepted Christ as My Lord and Savior, I still over the years, at times, have refused to grow and have been an unruly son on more than one occasion. As time has gone on and I have worked at trading pride for self-sufficiency (Not a good thing I might add) and then trading that for humility and the attitude of a servant. This has not been easy, especially as I found God calling me into careers that don't seem on the surface at least to condone compassion, humility and servitude.

The Gunner at his daughter's commissioning
CWO4 Fairman
I spent 10 years on active duty in The Marine Corps from 1963 to 1973 during which time you might well have been able to find me if you looked far enough across the Pacific Ocean to a small garden spot called "Nam" by those of us who spent any amount time there like I and many others did. During that time I was working my way up the ranks very slowly at first to Staff Sergeant and even though my dad and I were both in the Marines at the same time we did not cross paths often nor did we ever grow closer together as I hoped we would. I always wanted to make my father proud of me for some reason and to get his approval on my accomplishments.

(Later in life thanks in part to Jon Eldridge's book "Wild at Heart" I did get a better understanding of why that feeling existed.)


I tried on many occasions to bridge that gap both before and after I got married but never really succeeded. Dad eventually retired medically with 26 years of active duty. He died I believe feeling that somehow he short changed me. I hope he knew I loved him no matter what happened in my life. He gave me life and though he may have not shown it I think he loved me as best as he knew how. He just never had the love of Christ in him to be able to express it clearly. I did learn a lot of lessons both good and bad from my dad and I still guide my life by some of the good things I learned from him.

I was married in 1969 after returning from my last tour in RVN and when my enlistment ended in 1973 I went into the Marine Corps Reserves and spent the next 32 years as a reservist in the VAANG, USAR, USAFR and USMCR finally retiring with 42+ years of combined service and several combat tours in both Southeast and Southwest Asia as a USMCR Chief Warrant Officer-4. During my military years I learned early on, frequently and sometimes reluctantly, that holding on to Christian principles and morals would not always be the easiest and very often not the most popular mission I would undertake. However, with God's help I was able to see that if I ever wanted to see any changes made in that arena, it would require some personal examples of Christian leadership to be on display there in that environment. These personal examples would be tried and tested many times but they could not be allowed to succumb to the pressures to compromise.

Over the years I have tried my hardest to set a militarily professional example of what it really means to be a Christian. I grew sporadically as both a Christian and a Marine over that 42 year career and as I became better at one the other improved as well. I think I eventually realized that my profession was my ministry and my mission field. If I was lead by God then He could accomplish great things on that mission field. However, the hardest lessons to learn were those I learned when I tried to take control, consciously or unconsciously, of God's Plans and make them my plans. You see there are a lifetime's worth of lessons God has to teach us if we truly want to accept positions affecting changes in the way people live their lives and the way they relate to the Gospel and to Christ. If we turn off, with a "holier than thou attitude," everyone we encounter who does not conform to our understanding of the way we are to live, then who and how many folks will we ever truly have an opportunity to influence.

Never take for granted just how much we need strength and confidence from God to operate in this professional theater, but remember we also need patience and compassion to reach those who need to be reached and those who also need the encouragement, strength and confidence to live as Christians that God can provide. You need to lead them to Christ by example and compassionate exhortation, not by conviction. I have learned over the years that conviction is the work of the Holy Spirit and not my job. And as for Judgment, that is a task far better handled by God and jurist prudence than by me. Besides men are like sheep and not cattle, they like to be led not driven.

When I began my career in law enforcement in 1973 I had no earthly idea why? I planned to stay an active duty Marine for life. I did for once though listen to God without too great a domestic disturbance. I left active duty and reported for duty with the Anaheim CA Police Department and have served on both sheriff's departments (or if you prefer sheriff's offices) and police departments ever since. 13 years on police departments and 27 years on sheriff's offices and 10 years with federal credentials. (As you can see there must be many overlaps in my careers since both the Military and Law Enforcement careers are nearly 40 years each and both include active and reserve duties)

During this period I was married, I went to college for years at night, raised two kids, (a son and a daughter, both are married and military veterans, as is their mother, my wife of 37 years and my son-in-law). I have experienced many successes and a good number of failures in life as I toiled in all these environments and tried to raise and lead my family. I didn't have much to go on when I started out to be a Marine, a Cop, a Husband or a Parent and often I leaned on my own understanding, a trait I don't recommend to anyone else. I had few role models to use but as I progressed as a Christian, God showed me how to use His Word and the assistance of the Holy Spirit to discern the worthy characteristics from the less valuable traits of many folks He brought into my life. I am far from perfect and I pray I will continue to grow in my understanding, but I have learned enough from the myriad of life's lessons I have been taught by Christ and The Holy Spirit to accept the responsibility of making myself available to those who are walking the same dangerous and dark valleys that I once trod.

I have held every rank from patrolman or deputy sheriff through Undersheriff or Deputy Chief. I have worked Undercover Narcotics, Patrol, Aviation, Youth Services, Crime Prevention, Training, Field Training, Community Relations, Accident Investigation, Criminal Investigation, Cyber crimes, Planning and Research, Accreditation, SWAT and Administration at various operational, supervisory and command levels. Yeah, I got all the T-shirts, but now I keep them in my bottom drawer and wash my car with them because I finally discovered that the measure of a man is not determined by what he has achieved, but by that which he achieves for and through others.

I have observed and experienced the gauntlet of pressures and temptations of the life of both a Combat Marine and a cop and no matter what kind of assignment you have or geographical area your department serves, I have an understanding of just what you face. I have watched many a life or relationship fall to the daily pressures that impact the lives of LEO's and their loved ones, not to mention those with whom they serve side by side along that "Thin Blue Line." So, after 35 years of paid law enforcement I finally gave in to The Lords calling about 5 years ago and allowed Him to lead me into a position I felt a bit unqualified for even though I had been a deacon or elder for more than 15 years. I followed His "still small voice" and I pursued the Police Officer Standards and Training Council's requirements for State Certification as a Police Chaplain in Georgia. I was subsequently ordained in 2003 and certified in 2004. I now serve my community and my Lord in an unpaid volunteer status as a Police Chaplain who carries the Word of God to those who man that "Thin Blue Line" in a language they can understand and listen to their needs, problems and fears (yes, they do have some) with an understanding born of more than 35 years of experiencing many of them myself.

I ask that God continue to bless those who work in His fields and return someday to harvest the fruits of His labors through His people here on earth.

If I can be of service to any of you or you would like me to stop by and talk with you or your Christian Law Enforcement or Military Fellowship or your churches men's fellowship or any group, just drop me an email via the contact link on the home page.

 

 





Reddit!Del.icio.us!Google!Live!Facebook!Technorati!StumbleUpon!Yahoo!Free social bookmarking plugins and extensions for Joomla! websites!
 
< Prev   Next >

Upcoming Events