Feeling Merry in Minnesota

One of the advantages that Brothers Before Others has over traditional fraternal organizations is that our members span the globe, checking in from as far as England. This, coupled with the dedication of our members, has afforded us the opportunity to make our presence felt in all corners of the United States and beyond.

Two such members, are St Paul, Minnesota Police Officer Alex Graham and Sergeant Amber Larson. In order to best understand what these members were able to accomplish recently, I’ll defer to Alex’s own words for the background:

A Christmas Story

After a week of dealing with work issues that had me insanely frustrated and hardly in the holiday spirit, it was time for our department’s annual ‘Shop with a Cop’, an event where cops are paired up with underprivileged kids and take them shopping to get items for Christmas.

To be honest, the mood I was in had me considering bailing on the event since attendance wasn’t mandatory. I had typed the email out 3 or 4 times very politely saying I wasn’t going to make it. I ended up not bailing and I worked my shift 1900-0400,  slept at the district building until 0800 when I had to get up to be ready.

Now, let me introduce you to my friend Wyatt. In July I met Wyatt on the worst day of his life: the day of his father’s untimely death. Wyatt, at all of 10 years old, had to witness the attempts by family, police and EMS to save his father’s life.

I stopped back once since then and try to drive by as much as I can. Wyatt’s family doesn’t live in the best part of town and now his mom has to take care of 3 kids on her own.

Today, I got to pick Wyatt up in my squad car for shop with a cop. I was mentally spent when I left to go pick him up, I told myself no matter what it wasn’t about me and this would be his first Xmas without his dad so I needed to try my best to make it the best I can.

So I pick Wyatt up and we talk about school and his favorite subject (math). He shows me his origami skills he taught himself from a YouTube video. We get to the event and go shopping for gifts for his family. I had to remind him to make sure that he got a gift for himself which he wouldn’t do till he was satisfied his mom and siblings had good gifts first.

We sat, ate pizza and had ice cream and it came time to bring Wyatt home. We’re driving back chatting about the morning and he stops talking, looks at me and says “I want you to know this was a lot of fun and I had a great time.”

Then he cuts through me like a hot knife through butter. He calmly looks at me and says “I know you did everything to save my dad, and I’m really thankful you were there.” I try to tell Wyatt how amazing of a young man he is. He told me he asked for one thing from Santa and that’s for a time machine to tell his dad he loved him one last time. I drop Wyatt off back to his mom who’s crying when we walk up and I manage to give her a hug and tell her how great he was. I tell Wyatt I’ll see him soon and I leave.

The moral of this tale, although we get wrapped up in the politics, the day to day grind of guns, dope and mayhem, remember that to some we truly make all the difference. Hug your loved ones, say your prayers and be kind to one another.


The weekend before Christmas, Alex and Amber made a special visit to Wyatt’s house, where they hand delivered gifts for him and his family, all donated by the members of BBO. If you read most of the stories that detail the work being done by our members, the theme keeps coming up again and again: NO ONE cares for their communities like the American police officer; and Alex and Amber are two perfect examples of exactly that. Alex summed it up: “We are extremely blessed that, during this family’s darkest hours, the members of BBO and the St Paul community have rallied around them in order to help deliver some measure of hope and happiness. Delivering these gifts was both humbling and an honor.”

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