Today, February 9th, would have been my Dad's ninety-sixth birthday. This coming May will be fourteen years since he died, but, as with those that we love, he remains ever alive in our hearts and minds. Dad spent a great many years as a policeman in the City of Uniontown, and was well known to many in town, for he had an outgoing and warm personality.
The other day my sister, Janie and I were going through some old papers, and I came across a letter of commendation that was presented to Dad on November 11, 1952 from the Chief of Police, A.W.Davis. It concerned an event that I had never heard tell of, but of which I am very proud and thought that I would share some of the letter in tribute to Patrolman William Stoviak, a great Dad and great friend. I have changed a few names and locations with the "Smith" and "Jones" monikers.
Chief Davis wrote:
Our department recently closed the bombing of the home of [Mr. Smith ...] Uniontown, Penna. The suspect [Mr. Jones] having entered a guilty plea of malicious mischief by explosives ... and received a sentence of 2 to 10 years on two counts, malicious mischief by explosives.
This case has been the most important case in my fifteen years' experience as Chief of Police, and I am very proud of the actions of Ptl. Guthrie and William Stoviak, first on the scene with their display of courage, and disregard for their personal safety.
They severed the wires, connecting a time clock to a dynamite bomb, containing thirteen sticks of dynamite, rendering the bomb safe to examine, eliminating the damage to life and property in the locality, and preserving the following facts of evidence" 1) time clock, latent finger prints developed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory; 2) torn ends of Scotch electric tape, used to tape wires to the clock.
The physical stamina of a police officer is constantly challenged in their arduous duty, and exposed to danger. However, I am a very proud Chief of Police in having the honor to congratulate you and Russell Guthrie in your display of courage on your arrival at the scene, August 3, 1952. Police Officers our city can be proud of. A copy of this letter will be placed in your personnel file.
Your display of courage and disregard for personal safety can never be questioned; real cogs in our wheel of cooperation, in giving our best effort in making our city a better community in which to live.
A. W. Davis
Chief of Police"
Acts of heroism are not always known or acknowledged. I was proud to hear of this act of heroism by these two men, and the recognition that followed. I thought that on his birthday, the tribute would be fitting. Love you, Dad.