It’s often been said that not all heroes wear capes, and with me being one of the biggest super hero nerds in all of south East Georgia, last Friday I was reminded that the phrase certainly rings true at least when it comes to Hinesville Police Detective, Mike Gosseck who is hanging up his badge this week after a 20-plus year career with the department.
I’ve known Mike, I’m guessing, since I embarked on this part time career nearly 19 years ago.
As the old Spiral Staircase song goes (they were a popular group in the 70’s) and I am paraphrasing, but I don’t remember what day it was or what time it was when I met Mike all I know is it was the beginning of a friendship that has spanned nearly two decades.
Now when I refer to Mike as a superhero, and I’m sure I’m going to get a call from him disputing my description of him, in my eyes he is a hero.
Heroes don’t have to leap buildings in a single bound, or fly at the speed of light. Heroes need to be dedicated to their community, have compassion, and show integrity, and this is where Mike is a hero.
I didn’t always see Mike in person, actually months would go by before I’d run into him, but as most of you who know me personally know, my ears are always glued to several police scanners tracking the activities of our first responders.
When monitoring the Hinesville Police Department I have to tell you while Mike was on the road as a patrolman, or supervisor, he was a force to be reckoned with.
Mike was here, there and at times seemed to be everywhere. If they had to put the image of a person in the dictionary who was proficient in multitasking, I’m sure Mike’s photo would be the one chosen.
In a single bound Mike would be able to direct his officers to locations in the city where an emergency would arise.
I have no idea how he kept his sanity or avoid an ulcer the size of a basketball while patrolling the highways and byways of Hinesville.
Humility or compassion are also two words which come to mind when I think of Mike.
Many years ago two toddlers were killed in a mobile home fire in Hinesville and when you think that officers have seen it all and are immune from being affected by tragedy, well that wasn’t the case for Mike, who along with his partner Mike Trombley, responded to that call.
To this day Mike’s face will become shadowed with pain when reminded of the morning. Being a police officer never dulled his compassion for those he encountered.
Mike’s a man who doesn’t take praise easily; to him he was always doing his job. He wanted no fanfare on his departure, he simply wanted to fade away as true hero’s always do, no fuss no muss.
Mike didn’t get his wish because heroes also need to be recognized for the contributions they make to their community. Mike was given a farewell lunch last Friday, which is when the phrase “not all heroes wear capes: came to my mind.
His career and the effects he had on his colleagues were elegantly told by coworkers Tracy Howard, Rhett Dill, and Kyle Larimore, as well as many others.
The message was always the same as these men spoke fondly of Mike. It’s that integrity, doing the best you can possibly do, and staying humble goes a long way. The Hinesville community will be poorer, not less safe, but poorer because men like Mike don’t come around often, no they don’t and neither do friends like Mike my hero.
Lewis Levine is a longtime local freelancer covering public safety and human interest stories, but mostly public safety. He writes an occasional columnist.