Tribute to a SWAT Medic – John Dance

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.

Thanks buddy!