Officer Boomgaarden is a 6’10” Police Area Representative officer with the Springfield Police Department who worked until midnight last night and still agreed to a game of catch this morning.
He greeted me in full uniform, including the additional 35-plus pounds of gear, and asked if I had a glove for a southpaw. Thanks to Play It Again Sports, I did. He made the glove look five sizes too small.
He’s a hostage negotiator and studying to be a major crimes investigator and I was kinda somewhat pretty intimidated even though I had done nothing wrong. (Side note: The SRO officer at Parkview stopped by during our game of catch just to make sure everything was okay.)
But I knew I’d met a friend when he described the best part of his job.
“Giving stickers to kids.”
Officer Boomgaarden grew up in rural Nebraska with five brothers.
“We had one glove to share between all of us and it was for righties. Being a Yankees fan and a lefty, I did what Jim Abbott did. Catch the ball, take off the glove, then throw it. We made it work.”
He’s met his favorite player, Don Mattingly — “Such a nice guy” — and been to the Field of Dreams — “Make sure you get a Maid-Rite with mustard and pickles when you’re in Iowa.”
The more we talked, the more in common we discovered. His wife also teaches students with disabilities. “She’s a superhero.”
My cousin is an officer in Nebraska. I’ve heard stories and seen pictures. I have never held law enforcement aspirations and can’t imagine why someone would choose such a dangerous line of work.
“In rural Nebraska, in my town, the sheriff was also the DARE officer and put a face behind the badge. One of the most important parts of my job is helping people see cops are real people, too.”
Sounds like the Boomgaardens are a family of superheroes to me.
I tried to take a selfie, but my arm wasn’t long enough to get a good angle.
Thank you, Lisa, for your help with the picture and thank you Officer Boomgaarden for being part of Catch 365!
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