An Open Letter to Jim Frayne
By Rich Berkery
I woke up this morning with a new perspective---one that I wanted to share with you and everyone who reads this. I realized that I should look at our 15-year friendship and dwell not on the grief of your parting, but on the gift that was your love and friendship. Over the years you enriched my life immeasurably with your laughter, your jokes, your smiles, your insights, your presence, your joys, your pain and your frustrations.
Jim, you and I first met approximately 15 years ago. You were SCOPO's Legislative Advocate and I was the organization's Legislative Vice President. One of our first duties together was to attend a CCLEA political endorsement meeting with a number of other Peace Officer Associations and Organizations. Due to the nature of the meeting, legislative advocates were not allowed to be present during these meetings. So I went in alone. During the first break of the meeting I met you outside the room and you asked me, "How it was going in there?" I told you that being a Democrat, it was tough to hear all of the anti-Democrat rhetoric from some of the Republican-leaning Peace Officers who were present in the room. I asked you for advice on how to deal with that when I returned to the meeting. With your head tilted slightly and with a twinkle in your eye, you simply said, "Pray for them". It was at that moment that knew I was in good hands with you. This story is only a minor example of how you touched my life and the lives of everyone around you.
Jim, in our duties for SCOPO, you and I would spend a lot of time on the road traveling to various SCOPO meeting sites. It was on these trips that we would not only discuss the politics of the state, but also other important subjects, such as family, sports, labor movement, weather, and of course, what was the best scotch.
Over the years, you introduced me to the Legislators and you opened doors that I would have never been able to open by myself. I recall one of my first trips to the Capitol with you when everyone we passed in the hallways knew you.
You were also instrumental in arranging meetings with key committee leaders in order get them the word about a piece of legislation that would impact Peace Officers throughout the State. Along with your lovely wife, Bobbie, you were also valuable in making the arrangements for the CCLEA awards get together, where SCOPO would present its "Legislator of the Year" award. This was only a small fraction of what you did to help make SCOPO the strong and respected organization it is today.
Do you remember when you and I would talk over the telephone at least once a week, with you giving me updates on various legislation and asking my opinion on certain bills? We would always end the conversation either trading jokes or exchanging bits of trivia. There is no doubt that the way to my heart is through my funny bone, and you were the master at making me laugh. Humor has been one of our greatest bonds.
There are only a handful of people who come into your world, and touch your life in a dramatic fashion. "Some of the people are just flickers of light during a long life, while others are consistent glows for years." For me, you were a consistent glow. You were my co-worker, confidant, mentor and friend for 15 years. Jim, I will miss you and you have graced my life more than you'll ever know.