Police chief memorial rests in park

Gordon Bledsoe Memorial

Community forester Kim Bomberger and the sixth-grade class at Valley Falls prepare to plant a tree as part of an Arbor Day celebration. The tree is also a memorial to the late Police Chief Gordon Bledsoe.


by Clarke Davis
Family and friends of the late Police Chief Gordon Bledsoe gathered at the city park Thursday afternoon to dedicate a tree in his honor.
The dedication was part of the annual Arbor Day celebration attended by the sixth-grade class from Valley Falls Elementary.
Community forester Kim Bom-berger  met with the class at school to teach them the importance of trees and the proper planting methods. She then directed them in the planting of a choke cherry tree.
A rock with a plaque honoring the police chief has been located at the base of the tree.
Council President Lucy Thomas read an Arbor Day Proclamation to make the event official. City workers and all three of the police department personnel were present.
Gordon’s widow, Eileen, who served her husband and the city as his dispatcher over the course of his career, was accompanied to the event by her sons, Todd and Rodney, other family members, and friends.
The three family members spoke briefly about their husband and father and expressed their appreciation. Rodney Bledsoe, a Missouri resident, addressed the sixth-graders, telling them how important this small community was to him and that it gave him a true sense of home.
“Embrace your community,” he told them. “Embrace it.”
Lt. Robert Poppa of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s office spoke, noting that the late officer was not only his partner in law enforcement, but also a best friend and brother. He told of some tough scrapes they had been through together as law officers.
Poppa resides in Valley Falls and worked with Bledsoe from 1994 until the police chief retired in June 2003.
“Gordon lived his life for Valley Falls, and he loved the people of Valley Falls,” Poppa said.
The police chief had told him that in 1980 the town was wild. “Broadway Street was full of people every weekend drinking, fighting, and raising hell,” he said.
“Gordon was not a big man, but he was a tough man and a fair man. Can you imagine the courage it took to take on such a task and the dedication it took to make Valley Falls the wonderful town it is today?” Poppa said.
“I ask the people of Valley Falls to continue to honor Gordon’s dreams of Valley Falls becoming a better town as each day passes,” he said.
David Hawley, a longtime friend of Todd Bledsoe, played the bagpipes.
Bledsoe served the city twice during the 1970s but was continuously employed as police chief from 1980 until June 30, 2003.
That fall then Mayor Bill Munck proclaimed Sept. 27 as Gordon Bledsoe Day, which also honored Eileen. She had not only worked as the dispatcher without pay but had fielded calls from the public and opened her home as the police station on many occasions.
Incidentally, 2003 was the first year Kim Bomberger came to Valley Falls to instruct children in the proper planting of a tree on Arbor Day. She has returned nearly every year since.

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Posted by on May 13 2016. Filed under Featured, The Vindicator. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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