John Dance was a great man. His day job was working on an air-ambulance crew in Yuma, AZ. I guess he didn’t think that was exciting enough, so he decided to volunteer to be our SWAT medic.
Over the years, getting to know John… I realized that he was a unique person. If you rescue people for 40 hours a week, why would you want to change uniforms and go play with the local SWAT team as a volunteer?
Let that sink in. He was a volunteer on a SWAT team. He wasn’t getting paid to risk his ass, against the hardest and most determined criminals our team was engaging.
John did it because he wanted to save lives. I know that deep down, all he wanted was to make sure all the “good guys” go home alive. I also knew that he would have not hesitated to save a “bad guy.”
I went on several missions with John, and I never thought of him as a medic. He was one of us. He wouldn’t hesitate to shoot a “bad guy” if that’s what he needed to do. His knowledge of air evacuation procedures made every mission perfect with a 100% solid PLAN B. We didn’t have a helicopter on stand-by, we had a helicopter ready to launch. We didn’t have a proposed landing zone, we had a landing zone.
John was also a good friend to me when I needed him the most. He was there when I was searching for a special present for my then-wife Barbara. He looked high and low to find me the best deal on a quality firearm. It was hard to impress someone like her, but I pulled it off thanks to John.
Ironically, he was also there for me when my marriage fell apart. He knew how much I loved her, and he recognized I was completely broken. He reached out to me and convinced me to sell my guns instead of eating them. (dark humor, I apologize). It’s amazing how a little cash in your pocket will help you forgive your soon to be former-spouse.
I will always have a special place in my heart for John. I am grateful to his family for letting him come play cops and robbers. I wish I wasn’t so far away when he passed away, because I would have wanted to tell them in person.