Policeman called to duty after national tragedy

NEWS ARTICLE from The PRESS, 10-10-01, By Mike Ferrari

``AVON -- He was asleep and taking advantage of his day off from the Avon Police Department when he learned what happened.

It was the morning of Sept. 11 and Avon resident and patrolman Josh Stell was enjoying a calm slumber when the terrorist attacks took place in New York.

"It was my day off and I was sleeping when I got a page from the department," Stell said. "I thought I screwed up some paperwork or something but they told me to turn on the television. I got out of bed, turned on the TV and had a sick feeling about what happened...it was a slap in the face."

Stell said he returned back to bed because at the time, there was nothing that he could do.

Almost a month later, and after he just finished signing the paperwork on his new home, he received another call while he was working at the police department. It was the call to serve his country.

Stell, 23 years old, has been a member of the 135th Military Police (MP) Company for the last five years and he was called to join the rest of his company at their armory in Brookpark. Stell received the call on the morning of Oct. 1.

Just as quickly as he was making plans and organizing people to help him move into his new home, he had to pack his things and prepare for the unknown.

"Emotionally, I was upset because of who and what I was leaving behind," Stell said in an interview from the armory last week. "But the cause or reason that I was called to duty makes all of those feelings better. Now I can make a difference."

Josh Stell

Liane Bliss, Stell's grandmother said she was emotional about her grandson being called to active duty.

"It was not as if he was going to boot camp, the feelings were a lot stronger," Bliss said. "We need to protect our country. He signed up for six years and he is 100 percent with everything he does."

Stell went to basic training at Fort McCellan in Alabama for six months and was told by his instructors that there was a good chance that within six years, he could be called to active duty.

Stell served the Army National Guard for five-and-a-half years before being activated.

"I thought I was going to make it out," Stell said. "There were some times when things heated up in Bosnia and in the Middle East that I thought I would be called, but it never happened."

According to Stell, there are close to 200 other men and women who are currently stationed with him at the Brookpark location. They are together in their purpose to protect the country regardless of not really knowing what they could be doing in the immediate future.

"There is a possibility that we could go overseas," Stell said. "We have no clue as to what is going to happen or how we might serve the country yet." Stell said the average age of those who have been called up in his company is in the mid-20s.

"There are a lot of people upset about leaving their family," Stell said. "There are some college kids here who had to drop everything to come here. Nobody is against what we are doing, and we are all very positive about doing this job for our country."

Currently, Stell is working on inventory, paperwork, legal documents and updating personnel health statuses. He is also trying to compose a will in the event that he would be called overseas and not return.

"Everyone in my family was sad when they heard I was being activated, Stell said. My aunt cried and my grandparents said they were going to miss me not being around."

Stell will be stationed at the Brookpark armory for an undetermined amount of time ...

Mrs. Bliss said she is getting ready to hear yet another call from her grandson that he will be fighting overseas.

"I'm preparing myself for that (call overseas)," Bliss said. "His great-grandparents came to this country to be free. Freedom is important and that is what he is protecting." ... ''

NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 10-11-01, By Brian E. Albrecht, Plain Dealer Reporter

``BROOK PARK -- ... Yesterday, one small corner of the cavernous International Exposition Center filled with families saying goodbye to about 200 members of the Ohio National Guard's 135th and 838th Military Police.

The units leave ... for Fort Bragg, N.C., as part of the national call-up of Reserves and the National Guard since Sept. 11 ... ''

Contact Brian E. Albrecht at balbrecht@plaind.com

NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 10-11-01, By Dave Perozek

``Area MPs sent to serve

CLEVELAND -- Excited to serve their country but anxious about the uncertainties ahead, members of the 135th Military Police Company of Brook Park received a flag-waving send-off Wednesday as they prepared to depart for Fort Bragg, N.C.

The unit, comprised of about 200 men and women from the National Guard, including many from Lorain County, was scheduled to depart this morning for Fort Bragg. The guardsmen are scheduled to provide security and receive training about terrorism ... ''

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