There I was, one foot still connected to the ground and the other on a step leading to what could only be classified as one of my greatest professional trust falls. At that point, there was no turning back. I was getting in the bucket truck.
See, more than a week earlier when Covington Public Relations Manager Trey Sanders asked me to take a photo for the City of Covington to show tribute for Officer Matt Cooper, he provided me with the fair warning that I would be doing so from the top of an extended bucket truck. But when I agreed to climb into what was sure to be my death, I had no idea what I was actually getting into.
A chance to get in good with some of the people I cover on a regular basis? Sure. A chance to show my support for a community hero? Absolutely. An opportunity to stand 50 feet in the air, with an expensive company-owned camera wrapped around my neck? Let’s do it.
Wait, wait, wait … Did I just say 50 feet in the air? Hold on, let’s rethink this.
See, I’m not sure how far the bucket truck was actually extended. No one told me, and I definitely didn’t ask. For the sake of this story and cushioning my ego, I am going to say it was 50 feet in the air.
As I wobbled my way into the bucket truck, quickly second-guessing my agreeance to the entire situation, I thought about Officer Matt Cooper. Officer Cooper did not second guess his role on Labor Day. He did not for one second stop and say, “Can I really do this?” as he was running around the building to catch an alleged shoplifter.
If he could put his life on the line every day so someone like me can walk into a store without the fear of being harmed, I could surely get in a bucket truck.
As I was harnessed into the truck and lifted into the sky, I realized it wasn’t nearly as scary as I had originally imagined. I was there, at Legion Field, surrounded by people who had a personal relationship with Officer Cooper. They were coworkers and friends of the man who risked everything for our community.
I was honored to be asked by the City of Covington to play a tiny role in the photo for Officer Cooper. It is moments like that where I am reminded how blessed I am to be a tiny part of the community so many call home.
Jackie Gutknecht is the editor and publisher of The Covington News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-728-1409. Twitter: @jackieg1991