Delaware State Trooper Cpl. Stephen J Ballard, 32 years old was killed this week, shot in the line of duty, while performing a “routine” car stop.

FDNY Firefighter Billy Tolley was killed last week, in the line of duty. While battling a blaze, FF Tolley fell 5 floors while climbing from a rooftop onto the ladder, an exercise that he and many others have trained on many, many times.

There is no such things as “routine”, there is no such thing as “too much training”, we have to be prepared for “everything” at all times. What do Cpl. Ballard and Firefighter Tolley have in common? They were both public servants, sworn to protect, at all and any costs, the communities they served. One might say “Trooper Ballard died for no reason, it was just a car stop”. But here’s the thing, cops do not treat one job or call for service any differently than another. They may prepare differently while responding to a “man shot” job than they would for say a “car stop”, but it’s all the same job to them. Getting hurt on a car stop or getting hurt chasing a man with gun, same difference to them.

Firefighter Tolley treated that house fire with the same respect and due diligence that he would have if it had been a cat in the tree rescue. Same job, same response, same responsibility. Unfortunately not the same outcome.

Cops, firefighters and soldiers do not have a choice in their response. We are all sworn to an oath to serve and protect. We do not get the luxury of saying “no”. We do what we are told to do, and we do it to the best of our knowledge and training. Sometimes the decisions we make are not the best, but they were the best at the time they were made. Hindsight is 20/20.

I’ve been to too many funerals and memorial services, and I know I will attend more, as will most of you reading this. Line of Duty Cigars was built with the intention of providing donations to the families of those brave men and women in these three services that paid the ultimate price. They died doing what they were sworn to do, doing what they loved to do. It takes a special person to stand on a wall with a rifle, or a foot post on a corner in the Bronx on a Saturday night in August, or to run out of your perfectly safe fire truck and into a burning building. How many of you could do that? Day in and day out. Thinking not of yourself or your families, but the communities and country you chose to serve.

We do what we do because we love to. That’s as simple an answer as I can give. I loved my time with the NYPD. My friends that are FDNY love theirs even more. And I know quite a few soldiers, some active, some reserves that are currently also cops and firefighters and plenty of retired ones, and the bond and brother/sisterhood that is formed between them, is forever. We love helping people. The occasional “atta boy” or pat on the back goes further than you can imagine. So next time you see an officer or a firefighter, or a soldier at the tunnel or airport, know this, although many of them would prefer to be home with their friends and families, they love being exactly where they are right now.

Check out our Line of Duty cigar line up, check out what charities we are currently donating to, and if you want a cheap cigar, this isn’t the place for it. You get what you pay for. Or cigars are reasonably priced with the “regular Joe or Jane” in mind, as well as the families we are trying to help.

Thank you. Stay safe. And as always, follow the #1 rule : ALWAYS GO HOME AT THE END OF YOUR TOUR !!!!


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