For many Pasadena Police Department retirees, once they hang up their gun holster they don’t always make it back in town to visit with old colleagues.
But on October 24th, the Pasadena Police Department held its inaugural Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW) Permit Holders BBQ, in hopes of bringing back hundreds of retired police officers for a unique reunion and dedication ceremony.
The reunion started with morning target practice, range qualifications before hundreds gathered to honor and recognize Jack Preston Sr. who served as the PPD Range Master for 34 years (1962 to 1996.)
Preston had trained many, if not most, of the police officers in attendance and his legacy was felt by all who remembered him at the dedication ceremony.
“Jack Preston was an incredible person and the retirees and everyone here … stand on his shoulders,” said Clyde Ito, who helped organize the reunion and plaque dedication.
Many of the retirees at the CCW barbecue had worked or been trained by Preston, who took his role as a Range Master to heart. This included his own son, Pasadena Police Officer Jack Preston Jr, who had grown up watching his Dad at the Range and out on the field.
“I’m sure Dad is smiling down from a gun range in heaven,” said Preston Jr. “If they didn’t have one before, they do now.”
Police Chief John Perez thanked Preston for everything he contributed to the Department during his long tenure at PPD.
“Today is about Jack,” he said. “We honor him for the drive he had to train us and for teaching us that those 5 or 10 seconds are sometimes all we have … he did that for us. We honor him.”
After the plaque dedication, retirees were able to share stories and memories with fellow co-workers they hadn’t seen in years at the BBQ. This was the first in what Pasadena Police Department officials see as a bi-annual (April and October) event that will bring back retirees from all over the globe.
“It’s a great opportunity to see people you haven’t seen in years,” said Lt. Mark Goodman. “While also renewing your permit. Seems like a great way to bring everyone together.
It had been 30 years since Alan Sherwood and Dennis Grammer seen one another, but the two instantly recognized one another as if no time had passed.
The two talked old times, experiences shared together and they were looking forward to coming back for the next event.
“This is super,” said Grammer. “We haven’t seen so many of these people in years, but here’s the thing about coming back. It feels like I’m coming home.”