Sawdon-web-bannerThere are people in this world who achieve great things, and then they are so humble about it that they tell almost no one. That seems to be the case with my nephew, Jason Sawdon. Jason, who is married to my niece, Jessi Hadlock Sawdon is a trooper with the Wyoming Highway Patrol. He is part of the accident investigations team, but he patrols as well. Apparently, he is pretty secretive too, or else I was somehow left out of the family loop. On June 24th, 2016, the Wyoming Highway Patrol Association Awards Banquet was held near Dayton, Wyoming. The banquet is to recognize members of the patrol for individual and group achievements and actions in the prior year. The awards at this banquet were for 2015.

The WHP District Captains were given the task of reviewing and evaluating the performance of their respective employees and then asked to nominate a Trooper to be considered for the “Trooper of the Year” award. They were asked to look at leadership qualities, the Trooper’s activities, the Trooper’s professionalism during the performance of his or her duties, the Trooper’s reputation within the agency, the public’s perception of the Trooper and how well the Trooper reflects the eight core values of the Wyoming Highway Patrol. My nephew, Jason was nominated for the award, and then declared the winner!!

Now, I was looking for some other information on the Wyoming Highway Patrol website, when Jason’s face suddenly appeared on a scrolling banner. I quickly went back to that page, and was shocked to see that he had been awarded the “Trooper of the Year” award for 2015. I had no idea why we all weren’t told…or if I was just hiding under a rock…but somehow, I didn’t know it. Not telling everyone would be completely typical of Jason, so I guess it was a secret award. Well, Jason, the cat is out of the bag now, because, I am so proud of your accomplishments, that I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops…or at least write about it in my blog.

Jason’s district captain gave him a glowing nomination. I thought you might all like to hear part of what he had to say, so here is an excerpt. “This Trooper views their position as a State Trooper as a position of a true public servant. They maintain a positive outlook, even through difficult situations, and are a credit to the agency. They maintain a strong work ethic and contribute in a wide variety of activities. This Trooper has initiated public speaking and safety events within their division, they set a positive example for their peers, and actively strives to increase highway safety. They actively seek ways to help the division meet goals by voluntarily adjusting their shift in order to provide enforcement during times and areas of concern. Not only is this Trooper productive in terms of quantity, their quality is surpassed by none. They strive to always “do the right thing for the right reason.” They successfully and aggressively enforce state statute while maintaining the respect of the community they strive to protect and serve; as well as the respect of all who know and work with them. They remain actively involved in teaching and participating in academy classes and regularly pushes themselves and their peers toward success. This Trooper demonstrates great courage, humility, and maturity as they fulfill their WHP SUVobligations. They are a strong example of a Wyoming Highway Patrol Trooper, in their actions, appearance, values, and character. They are a leader amongst their peers and a great asset to the division, the district, and the Patrol.”

I am so proud of the accomplishments of our family’s own Wyoming Highway Patrol “Trooper of the Year” for 2015, Trooper Jason Sawdon. Congratulations Jason!! We are so happy for you. You are an asset to the WHP and to law enforcement in general, and a wonderful asset to this family. Next time…don’t be so modest. You deserve the praise!!

27016_394747284000_6877317_nThey say that girls often marry a man who is much like their dad, and that seems to be the case with Jessi and Jason. Both Jessie’s dad, and Jason are police officers, but that is only one of the similarities between these two men. They are both serious pranksters, which Jessi tells me reminds her a lot of her dad and her grandpa, my dad. Of course, it is apparently pretty easy to tease Jessi, because she is pretty gullible and believes anything Jason says. For that reason, he never misses an opportunity to try to trick her. I would imagine life in their house is pretty comical.

Another way Jason is like my dad, Jessi’s grandpa, is that when it comes to cars, foreign is simply not an option. Of course, there are several people like that in our family. Most of us really believe that it is best to buy American, and that is Jason’s thought too, but there is another reason for him too. Jason was born in Michigan…just 20 minutes from Detroit. I doubt that someone could be born and raised in that area and not know the importance of buying American made cars.

There are many sides to Jason. He has degrees in engineering and fire science, and also has his pilot’s license; and yet he knew that his true calling was to be a Highway Patrolman. He loves what he does, and of course there is more to being a police officer Jason the pilotthan giving tickets. Jason is the lead Crash Team member in our area, and my kids can attest to the value of that. He was the first one on scene at an accident involving my son-in-law Kevin’s dad. It was such a relief to Kevin and Corrie to have Jason meet them at the edge of the scene and tell them that his dad was ok. He was caring and yet thoroughly did his job on the accident. That is how he handles every accident he deals with…with compassion and professionalism. As Jessi says, “God definitely has special people in mind for every job and this is no exception.” I have to agree. God does place the right people in the right job, and Jason is the kind of person that you want to see after you have been in an accident.

Jason loves kids, and there will definitely be children in the future for Jessi and Jason, but for now he likes to do things with the other kids in the family. On Labor Day weekend, when the family went up to my sister, Caryl and her husband, Mike’s cabin at Seminole Reservoir, Jason took every single kid…10 all together, for rides on the RzR. They all have an amazing time. Jason will never pass up the opportunity to share these kinds of things with a child. He has a very soft heart when it comes to kids.
Jason and Aurora
Like most people, Jason has a nickname. Because of his red hair, they call him Red, Ginger, and a few others that the guys at work have stuck him with. If they tell you to call him one of those, he will probably know exactly who told you to do it. They might think they got away with something…but they didn’t. Jessi says she had no idea that being a redhead was such a big deal, and maybe that’s part of it, but I think it goes back to that sense of humor and a little return teasing, because of all the pranking Jason has done to others in his past. Today is Jason’s birthday. Happy birthday Jason!! Have a wonderful day!! We love you!!

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