The 14th annual Retirees Roundup took place in Laughlin, Nevada from April 7-10. There were 887 happy retirees in attendance at the Riverside Resort & Casino. A huge “Thank You” goes out for the financial support and displays provided by Sheriff’s Relief Association, ALADS, PPOA, and the POPA Credit Union. Additionally we would like to thank LACERA’s Out Reach Team and the Sheriff’s Museum who also provided displays and information. Once again, with the approval of Sheriff Lee Baca and the financial support of ALADS, the HR 218 Qualification was conducted by Range Staff Deputies Ed Corrette and Janice Hansen. A total of 345 retirees qualified without a single accidental discharge and some of the targets were actually hit by gunfire.
This article is especially written for those retired folks who rarely or have never attended a Roundup for any number of reasons. We who do attend want you to come join us and I will attempt to show you why we would like you to.
At the Roundup a large banquet room beside the Colorado River serves as the nerve center of the event. Called “The Briefing Room,” it functions as the social center as well as the command post. There you will find a constant supply of refreshments including a continental breakfast, bar service, displays, information, and a relaxing place for happy folks to visit. A number of individual units host lunches, dinners, or receptions for those who were once upon a time assigned to those units. There are activities such as the HR 218 Qualification, Bowling Tournament, Golf Tournaments, Arts and Crafts Fair, Slots and Poker Tournaments, and raffles for prizes. Everything runs on the backs of volunteers who thankfully make the Roundup the growing success that it is.
The most common sounds in The Briefing Room are laughter and expressions of gratitude. The most common sights in The Briefing Room are smiles and hugs. For four magical days in the spring in Laughlin The Briefing Room and not Disneyland, is the happiest place on earth. If there are past animosities they don’t appear; there is no rank except for the rank of “retired.” There are no loud, drunk, or obnoxious people. There are just happy and respectful retirees and their families sharing memories and making memories. Often they remark that they didn’t realize how small the world was or how much others had touched their lives until they had attended the Roundup.
If you have never attended a Roundup there is a good chance that someone there has talked about you because it is very common for those attending to say how they wish that this person or that person they know or knew, would attend. We all know someone who we would like to see again and we wish they would come and enjoy what we enjoy. I asked Moon to request the Roundup attendees to send me an email describing what attending the Roundup means to them or tell us why do they attend. I had thought that the Roundup would mean many things to many people. Turns out I was wrong. It seems that the Roundup means pretty much the same thing to most everyone and that gives us all a great deal in common regardless of when we retired. When we retire we don’t miss the politics or daily traffic or personnel issues or even lousy verdicts by juries or judges. But we do miss the people we worked beside, bonded with, trusted our lives with, and shared in a camaraderie that is unique to the occupation of law enforcement. The common reason people seem to return year after year to the Roundup is for that feeling of an extended family where we don’t have to pretend to be so rough and tough anymore. Here are some of the email responses I received so you too, can see the reasons we attend and the common bond that brings so many of us back each year:
-“Rehashing the memories with the people that helped to make them is the best part of the Roundup.”
-“The Roundup is a gift to visit all that made an impact on me.”
-“After my first Roundup I attended I vowed never to miss another one. I had my last chance to visit with friends who passed away the next year. I think the people I visit with seem to share at a deeper level than we did when we worked together. Thank God for Moon and Robyn!”
-The Roundup is our family reunion, a big family reunion but a family reunion nevertheless. It is great to reconnect with those one has known for years and to meet those distant cousins who have not yet crossed out path.”
-“I entered the Sheriff’s Dept. in 1958; retired in 1980 and am 89 years old. I meet people who were not on the department when I retired. I worked with their father who might not be alive. I see name tag names of people who I worked with that my old age dementia had caused me to forget, some of whom my last contact was over 50 years ago.”
-“My husband was on the Department for 32 years. We attended LASD Reunions at McArthur, California and Squim, Washington where I met and became friends with many people that have remained very dear friends. When my husband passed away I was devastated to think I’d never see my retired friends again. A few years later the Roundup in Laughlin was started and after conversations with my retired friends I decided to attend. I can’t put into words just how wonderful it is to see everyone and how welcome I feel. LASD is truly a family and I will continue to meet and greet as long as I am able. MY THANKS to everyone who makes this possible!”
-“My favorite activity is just sitting at a table of retirees who I do not know. Some of these deputies were beginning their careers the year I was born! I love hearing their old stories of how it was ‘back then.’ 30 years from now that will be me speaking ‘back then.”
-“It is not just about seeing old friends and partners but getting to know colleagues….like the both of you….who we only heard of, passed in a hallway, met briefly at a containment or ???? It is a continuation of getting to meet other Department family members who we never had a chance to laugh with, share stories with, or just have a drink with.”
-“It is so very important to reconnect with the people you worked with so many years ago. How nice it is to be able to tell old stories about the working years with ex-partners and friends and share laughs. It is nice to be able to share friendships and the fact that the spouses are there to hear all the stories and share the bonds with the partners makes it very special. Wonderful experience; look forward to being there every year.”
-“The Roundup is visiting with friends whom I’ve lost touch with and seeing people I haven’t seen, some for over 40+ years. It’s a great chance to get reacquainted, tell war stories, straighten out stories people have been telling that were somewhat fictional and just plain having fun. Last year I was truly touched as the wife of one of my many radio car trainees approached me and said the reason she came to the Roundup was to meet me. (her husband, my former trainee had passed away after surgery for a hip replacement) It’s these kind of things that make you want to return each year.”
-“I waited 10 years before I attended my first. Wasted time! I feel like the luckiest person alive to be counted among this group. Last year I needed a cane to walk after hip surgery. I almost didn’t go for that reason. How wrong can one person be? There are any number either temporarily or permanently infirmed who routinely attend. Here at last we are so real; no rank; old issues have passed. I truly adore the time spent rekindling friendships and establishing new ones. It is on my calendar for life.”
So much of a “family feel” thrives at the Roundup. So much so that surviving spouses continue to attend after losing those members of our LASD family. I think that it is crucial to note that these survivors are always welcome at the Roundup where they add moments of reflection and memories for us all. I personally got to visit with a survivor and old family friend and at whose home I used to play as a child. I am thankful for that visit because her husband and my father were friends and worked together.
If we talk about family, there is one other group that is under- represented at the Roundup. That group is the many retired Reserve Deputies. Many of us regulars over the years have developed deep and long lasting friendships with these dedicated individuals and a good many of us would like to see you again at the Roundup as well. Anyone who would join our family for as little as one dollar per year has to be special.
I haven’t written a reasonable cause arrest in many years but this is my attempt to write a reasonable cause invitation to those who always have an excuse to not attend the Roundup. An old saying says, “we do what we plan to do.” So plan to attend and you just might do it. You would make yourself and others very happy. I don’t say you have to attend every year. Things happen and you can’t always go. But do try to attend one. If you still need a reason to attend, do it for yourself and if not, do it for the rest of us because we are your old friends, we miss you, and we would love to see you at the next Roundup, April 6-10. 2014.