Mike Brennan, Josh's father, has been a member of the police department since leaving the Army himself. When news came of Josh's death in Afghanistan the department rallied around Mike and his family. To this day they continue to remember Josh, to support Mike and the Brennan family and to participate in various events to remember and honor fallen military personnel.
Yesterday Mike Brennan sent me an email with the photos below and this text:
"Yes this is the newest mpd (Madison Police Department) k-9 and he was named after Josh. Josh always wanted to work with me on the PD and now he will have a chance. The handler is in South Carolina picking him up and will be back in March after training. He was born in Dec of 2008 and she says he is full of energy"
I'm not going to lie. I couldn't stop the tears. Mike has become a very dear and special friend. We talk about Josh often and have through the past two years. I know how much Mike thinks about the "what if". What if Josh hadn't been killed in Afghanistan? What would it be like to have him on the force with me? Mike Brennan has every reason to be bitter and angry but he's not. He misses Josh EVERY DAY but he draws on his faith, family and friends when he needs a little extra strength.
Mike invited me on a ride along one night when I was visiting in Madison. I actually witnessed him making an arrest. I won't go into the details but I was truly in awe of how he handled the situation. There was a young child at the home. One of the first things Mike did was ask another family member to remove the child from the room. He didn't want the child to see him as he handcuffed the mother. He didn't have to do that but that is an example of the kind of man Mike is. He was definitely firm and in control of the situation at all times but always cognizant of the young child. At one point the mother and a friend of hers attempted to escalate the situation with yelling. Mike calmly, but firmly, talked them down in short order always reminding them that the child should not be traumatized by the situation. Before we took the mother out to the squad car Mike gave her the opportunity to talk with her child for a few moments. The he spoke with the young child and assured him everything would be OK.
I am so grateful to the Madison Police Department for naming their newest K-9 after Josh. I have no doubts Mike is going to need a little training, too. I fear Josh could weigh 500 lbs if Mike is allowed to give him treats. I look forward to the day when I get to meet Josh. He's quite a handsome young man isn't he?
Links to stories about SGT Brennan:
Remembering SGT Josh Brennan - link has a very moving video
SGT Brennan's mom's facebook page
SGT Josh Brennan's family invited to the White House by President Bush