A Unique Graduation Gift


Any graduation creates the perfect opportunity to say

"well done" and "we're proud of you".


(Here's a good example of what can be achieved. Shannon wanted something special for Michael on his Graduation Day.  Shannon has kindly given her permission for her poem and

story to be published)


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What is your name : Shannon Thomas

Who do you want the poem written for: My cousin, Michael.

Why do you want the poem written: He is graduating from the tennessee state trooper police academy.

What are the key messages you would like to send: Michael's father, Bucky, had been battling cancer for 2 1/2 years. We lost him January 29, 2004. We were both there when he took his last breath. (Along with his mother, 2 sisters and other family and close friends.) I can't even explain how terrible that night was. The only way to explain Bucky is, he was a "gentle giant." Standing 6 foot 6 inches tall. He was a friend to everyone and never met a stranger. He was in the Army National Guard, on Swat for 16 years and was a state trooper for 32 years. Michael always wanted to follow in his footsteps ever since he was a little boy. He went to the Marines when he was 19 years old. Bucky didn't want him to go to the marines because he was army, but he said after going and watching Michael graduate that it was ok. Michael went into infantry, but then he transferred to work on helicopters because that is what Bucky did. Michael's marine unit got called up in October 2003. That was after the doctors had given Bucky less than six months to live. Michael got to stay because they knew his dad was dying. In December Bucky started getting worse, the doctors said now he would have less than 2 months. In January after everything was done that the doctors could do, Michael's mom (Kathy) decided to take Bucky to Mexico to get treatment. It was their last hope. They stayed in Mexico for 3 weeks. There was no improvement so they decided to come home so that he could spend his last days with his children and family. They came home on a Sunday and he passed away on a Thursday.

Do you have any funny, sad, happy, embarrassing or otherwise memorable moments that you would like to share: Michael has always admired Bucky. When he was little and Bucky would get up early in the mornings to go to work. No matter how early Michael would get up with him and watch him put his uniform on and get ready. When Bucky pulled out of the driveway he would always flash his lights on his police car to Michael. I know that has always been a great memory to him.
When Bucky worked for special forces he was on the drug program. He had a bomb dog named Midnight(a black lab). Michael use to always take care of Midnight for him. He would feed him and everything. That dog meant alot to the both of them.
Michael has always wanted to be a state trooper like his dad. When his wish finally came true and he found out that he was going to get to go to the police academy, he didn't want to go. That was after they had only given Bucky less than six months. Michael didn't want to leave him knowing that he would have to be gone most of the time that Bucky had left. Bucky told him to go ahead and go. That he knew how much it meant to him and how bad he wanted to do it. Bucky really wanted him to do it too. He was so proud of Michael and wanted him to continue on to be a state trooper like he was. Michael went ahead and went to the academy. He was only there for a few weeks when Bucky got really bad. They had to go pick him up so that he could be there for the last moments.

Do you have any other comments or thoughts: Michael will be graduating next week from the police academy. Instead of getting his own badge, handcuffs, and shotgun. They will be presenting him with his father's badge, handcuffs, and shotgun. They usually retire trooper's badges, but in this case they are going to give Bucky's to Michael. Now a piece of Bucky really will always be with him wherever he goes. Graduation is going to be a very emotional day for him.

What style of poem would you prefer (happy, sad, romantic etc.): Happy and sad

Please choose which package you would prefer: Deluxe

Do you have any last comments or thoughts: I just wanted to add how important Bucky was to me. We were very close. He use to always tell me how special I was to him. I know he was very special to me. I loved him like a father. Also I wanted to add how huge his funeral possession was. It was over 3 miles long and there were about 100 police vehicles. At every red light there was a policeman or state trooper saluting. There was bag pipes at the funeral playing amazing grace and they had the folding of the flag over his casket. I know famous people who's funeral wasn't as big as his.
I just want to have something special to give to Michael on this special day. Could you somehow write it like  I am speaking to him?
One last thing... just remind him that Bucky will still be there on graduation day to watch him get his badge. By the way Michael is 23 years old.


Bucky’s Light


Hi Michael, how are you?

How you doing on this special day?

I’d like to have a chat with you,

because I do have some important words to say.


Firstly, I just wanted to say, “I’m proud of you”

and I know of others, who are even prouder still,

because their love for you will never wane,

it’ll never dim, no, it never will.


Because there’s a light that burns inside of you,

and you can see it glow from your very soul,

just know that Bucky will always be a part of you,

and that together, you’ll be completely whole.


And they usually retire a trooper’s badge,

 now a piece of Bucky will be with you wherever you go,

so he’ll be with you on the inside and the out,

and that’s all you’ll ever need to know.


Bucky was very important to me too,

in truth, I loved him like he was my own Dad,

and we both experienced his amazing presence,

so to us both, he was the best father anyone ever had.


Truly, Bucky was a gentle giant,

and his heart was just too big for his chest,

he was a friend to everyone, he never met a stranger,

to be honest, we’ve witnessed God’s very best.


I’ve never seen such a funeral procession as his,

famous people don't get as big a show,

100 police vehicles and a salute at every red light,

if you could choose, that’s the way you’d go.


And I know his end was painful,

but life never goes quietly, without a fight,

but his spirit lives on within you,

Michael, you truly are Bucky’s light.


He was so very proud of you,

and he was proud you kept the trooper tradition going,

that’s why he wanted you to go to the academy,

Bucky knew, he always had a way of knowing.


And I know that he’s with you today,

he’ll be inside you as your chest fills with pride,

because he knows he couldn’t have picked a finer son,

he couldn’t - even if he’d tried.


And now Bucky will be playing with Midnight,

but they’ll both stop to honour you,

because Michael, we all love you very much,

and we’re all very proud of what you do.


And we know Bucky’s light will keep on shining,

because you’ll live up to that badge and then some more,

and I know that Bucky will now rest easy,

as there’s safe and good hands upholding the law.

Copyright Allen Jesson :) 2004


"Hey Allen! It is wonderful!! I love it...and I know Michael will too. There isn't anything I want to change. It is perfect. Thank you so much! Feel free to put it on your website. You don't have to change any names. I would like the white card and the satin paper. I would also love to have the handwritten draft and have the poem autographed. Thanks again. You did such a wonderful job!"


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