Murder In Our Town

The Poudre River runs through the town of Windsor, the Poudre Trail bicycle and pedestrian path travelling along the north bank of the river.  The residents of Windsor share a small town atmosphere.  People are generous and welcoming, they smile and wave when they recognize a friend on the street. Our Mayor John Vazquez compared it to “Mayberry.”  Close neighbors and friends support each other and welcome newcomers and strangers into their oasis of serenity and safety.  Those who live here call it home and are proud to do so.

At 10 am on May 18th, an ordinary day in Windsor would change into a day of disbelief and shock, as the news broadcast that an unknown killer had taken the life of a beloved Windsor citizen, John Jacoby.

A murder?  Not in our town!  The last one happened eight years ago.  A homicide effects everyone that it touches.  Lives are changed forever.  The countless people who loved and were involved in John Jacoby’s  life — families, friends, acquaintances, employees, search and rescue, physicians and EMTs  — feel the pain that resonates. David Jacoby, John’s brother, was a first responder at the scene.  His burden is unimaginable.

John Jacoby was a Windsorite.  A simple man with a heart of gold who gave back to his city.  He  defined who he was by his continued involvement.  This included his involvement with K99’s 28 Hours of Hope to help fight the battle of child abuse in Northern Colorado. His brother David shared a memory of John, who liked to be called “Johnny,” writing a letter to Paula Woodward, anchor of Channel 9  news when he was in the 6th or 7th grade,  telling her he loved his life, his family and Windsor.  A friend, Shelly Jamison, who went to high school with Johnny, smiled as she shared memories of her friend, who lettered for four years as a water boy and never missed a day of school. Over the years, the Windsor Fire Department made him an honorary firefighter, because he would often beat the fire department on his bike, to a call in progress.

sadness and griefThose who were not acquainted with John — “Johnny” to his family and friends — were introduced to him in the cruelest of ways and were impacted by this senseless tragedy . It made an impression on our thoughts and our minds.  People who live in Windsor are speaking of it at the grocery stores, the cleaners, during book clubs, and at Starbucks.  His community did not let him down.  They stood tall and proud as they planned his funeral and gave from their hearts and pocket books to honor this wonderful man. What a celebration of life as hundreds of our community filled Faith United Church and spilled over to the high school.  The killer took away his life, but Windsor gave it back in memory and celebration. John was hearing impaired and faced many adversities and overcame them.  He was honored by the Mayor of Windsor as an “icon.”  What an achievement. Windsor is part of this story.

What can we do as a community? This community is still frightened by this uninvited intrusion. We are still angry.  Our lives have been altered. We are more cautious. One person told me that she is afraid to walk in her neighborhood alone. One mother is asking her children not to ride their bikes for a while.   It will be some time  before this tragedy and the emotions surrounding it are relegated  to the past.  The police, FBI, family, friends and the rest of us are waiting for justice, and for healing.   As a community we will lean on and help each other through this time of grief, mourning, and loss.  We persevered through the tornado of 2008.   We rebuilt.  This time we are rebuilding our hearts and that is a long and difficult process.

The First Week of December

For most of us, the first week of December, is the first week of the Christian holiday of Christmas. During the month of December in Colorado you will see snow covering the ground and be in awe of the beauty of snow packed mountain peaks. The average snow in Denver in December is 8.5 inches and December is the coldest month of the year in Colorado. A great month for skiers.

MP900431277Many people are preparing their homes for Christmas. Decorations and holly will be placed in windows and on doors while lighted Christmas trees will sparkle and dance. Children are not shy in asking for holiday gifts as they dream of Rudolph, Santa and the joy of Christmas morning. Young or old everyone is entitled to the anticipation and wonder and of Christmas morning with pretty presents under the tree and all the excitement the holiday brings.

The hustle and bustle of Christmas has begun! Some who have not made Christmas travel plans will search the web hoping for low fares. Christmas is in the air. People seem to be more gracious and giving during this time of the year than any other. Why? Perhaps this is because the many activities that surround Christmas give happiness, joy and purpose to people.

Sadly, a segment of the population does not enjoy the holidays. For those who have not had the memories of childhood joys, or people that experience sadness or depression during the holiday season, Christmas can be daunting. There are many triggers that cause feelings of stress and unhappiness during this season. Some have lost a loved one during this year and are grieving. Grieving during any time is difficult, but loss during the holiday is especially poignant. Many people are single and live alone and do not have a good support system around them. Seeing others interact with their families can be sad and painful for them. Estrangement and divorce is another loss that can cause inner conflict and sadness. With the decreased sunshine and the gloomy weather seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is yet another reason that people have a difficult time enjoying the holiday season.

The Mayo Clinic lists 3 triggers for the holiday blues or holiday depression: relationships, finances, and holiday demands. Mental Health America points out that there are many people who experience post-holiday let down or post-holiday blues after the first of January. If you know someone who is going through a difficult time during the holidays, encourage them to ask for help.

"It's a Wonderful Life"If you are feeling sad or depressed this holiday season realize that your symptoms are very similar to clinical depression and if your symptoms continue to interfere with the quality of your life see a professional. If you feel the holiday blues interfering with your peace of mind and your joy perhaps you can use this first week of December to bring the joy of the season to someone else. Volunteer at a nursing home or a hospital or simply enjoy a Christmas movie classic such as “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Create new memories by going to see Christmas light displays or hang a few of your own. Surprise a friend and take her/him to dinner. Choose something you have an interest in and you will find new meaning and enjoy the experience.

Let me know what you think or ask me a question by emailing me at Until next time, light and blessings to you.