During the early morning of Tuesday, March 9, Jesse Madsen, 45, a highly-decorated police office in Tampa, Florida, gave his life to save the lives of others.  He’s the Pain-2-Power Person of the Week.

Officer Madsen saw that a car was traveling at very high rate of speed (probably over 100 mph, it turns out) in the wrong direction on Interstate 275.  Madsen had been commended for his bravery before.  He was a seven-time recipient of life saving awards as an officer.  Seven.   He was also a United States Marine combat veteran.  Yet few (perhaps only those who knew him best) could have forecast what he decided to do next.  Madsen veered his cruiser into the path of the speeding vehicle in order to prevent it from hitting other cars.  He was killed.

He received his eighth life saving award, posthumously.

Jesse Madsen will be buried tomorrow.  He leaves behind a wife and three children.

I don’t know what created the force of gravity, and I don’t know what created a man like Jesse Madsen.  I do believe it has to do with God and I do believe it has to do with those who raised Jesse Madsen and with others who influenced him profoundly during his formative years.

I would have liked to have known this man, Jesse Madsen.  I would like to be more like him.  I expect that his children may carry some of his remarkable strength inside them, and I would bet one or more of them does something profound with his or her life.  Maybe one of his friends, moved by his example, will.  Maybe a fellow officer.  Maybe even someone who reads this will decide to be a hero, rather than turn away, when the opportunity arises.  People like Jesse Madsen don’t just disappear; their spirit goes on and on.

There are those on this planet who dislike black people, just because they are black.  There are those who dislike police officers, just because they are police officers.  There are those who dislike veterans, just because they fought for our country in wars.  Jesse Madsen should be an eternal answer to all of them.  Because, from what I can gather about this person, I think he would have laid down his life to save the haters, too.  He seems to have been that good, that decent, that strong and that true.

Jesse Madsen deserves to rest in peace.  He’s done enough.  More than enough.  I hope the rest of us channel some of his strength and carry it forward.

Dr. Keith Ablow



  1. Keith Ablow says:

    Thank you, Kathi!

  2. k.fairbend says:

    Beautiful tribute.