Embrace the Suck

I joined the Boynton Beach Police Explorer Program in 2012. At the time I was not interested in law enforcement but I was forced to attend meetings with my older brother because our parents thought it would be good for us. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this program was something I wanted to continue participating in with enthusiasm.

When I joined the explorers I was lacking positive male role models in my life. I know that if it wasn’t for this program and Sgt. Danysh I would not be the person that I am today.

I attended a week long Explorers Bootcamp over the summer. It was this event that really changed my life. I realized that there were multiple areas of my life that needed improvement. Acknowledging this fact was an eye opening experience for me.

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LAPD explorers participating in field exercises, 2007. (LAPD)

I thought about quitting multiple times over the course of the week, but I knew I couldn’t for a variety of reasons.

First, I was motivated to “embrace the suck” because I didn’t want to disappoint Sgt. Danysh. He was there everyday enduring swarms of sand flies and mosquitoes in order for me to participate in boot camp. He could have decided to quit the program himself when seven other participants dropped out, leaving only me.

Second, the reason I didn’t dropout is because I don’t know how to quit. I was angry at times but wanted to prove to everyone that I was strong.

Sgt. Danysh and the explorers taught me how to persevere and be a leader. During my time as an explorer’s lieutenant, I learned important lessons about leading by example, communicating, teamwork, resilience, and hard work.


The U.S. Marshals Service hosted a large group of law enforcement explorers attending the 2013 Law Enforcement Leadership Academy. (U.S. Marshals Office of Public Affairs)

I cannot imagine who I would be today if I had not been persuaded to join and stick with this program. Even now it still scares me to think about it!

Sgt. Danysh continues to be a positive father figure for me. It is because of his support that I have been able to move forward and make positive decisions for myself. I believe Adopt a Cop USA will fundamentally change the way young people like me view police officers and help law enforcement view and interact with young people positively.

By partnering youth with committed, motivated and well-trained officers, AAC will help create meaningful relationships that will last a lifetime. Whenever I am asked who my hero is, or who I look up to, my answer is always the same!

So thank you Sarge for being MY hero. I know that you and AAC will help millions of kids all over America, and I am very excited to be counted as a success story!

– Grace Heidisch