Risks and Blessings

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“Risks and Blessings,” Ensign, Sept. 1991, 66

Risks and Blessings

Big-city police work has its risks and its stress. Mike Lynch of the Branham Ward, San Jose California South Stake, knows the risks and the stress firsthand. But he loves the work and credits the gospel with giving him the inner peace to cope.

In 1978, Mike and his wife, Marilyn, moved their family from Big Piney, Wyoming, where he had been a sheriff and law instructor for five years, to San Jose, which is one thousand times larger than Big Piney. Mike describes the difference: “In Wyoming, you knew everyone in town, and there was always a personal greeting. The big city is much more intense and stressful—at times dehumanizing. This work makes you grateful for the gospel perspective on life, on right and wrong.”

After eighteen years of police work, Mike still enjoys public service—whether in a small town or a big city. “It’s not just a job,” he says. “Public service is an opportunity to help people when they’re in trouble and help them hold their lives together.”

A father of seven children, Mike doesn’t talk much about the risks of his work, but he’s not afraid to take them. For example, late one night in February 1990, as he drove through his assigned area, Mike noticed smoke pouring from an apartment building. He radioed for help, and soon he and two colleagues were forming a human chain, crawling through the smoke-filled second floor. Shouts raised no one, so Mike and his colleagues broke into an apartment and found a young couple and small baby asleep. Before the flames engulfed their room, the family was safe outside.

For his lifesaving measures, Mike received the William Poelle Living Service Award from San Jose police chief Joseph McNamara on 1 March 1990.

Mike keeps things like awards and rewards in perspective and doesn’t get too excited by them. “I love Church history, biographies, and historical fiction,” he says. “What I enjoy most are the great examples of the good people do. There’s no end to the good we can each be a part of.”—Beth Saville, San Jose, California

Mike Lynch (left) received an award from San Jose police chief Joseph McNamara (center) after rescuing a family from fire. Mike’s wife, Marilyn, stands next to Chief McNamara. (Photo courtesy of San Jose Police Department.)