Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Z-Man; It Starts With Me, And You

 

I think now is a good time to rerun this post. There is a better path to follow, and we have to find it.

On a grey cold Sunday morning a Portland police officer was on his way to Northeast Precinct to begin his workday. At approximately 6:30 am his truck broke down on the freeway. He got out of the truck to analyze the problem and was struck and killed by a semi-truck. Officer Mark Zylawy died on that January 27, 2008 Sunday morning.

z man

Officer Zylawy was born in Versailles, France. He went to high school in Missoula, Montana, and served the Portland Police Bureau as a district officer in Northeast Portland for 17 years. During that 17 year period Officer Zylawy received 30 commendations, two unit citations, and the Medal of Valor.

Mark Zylawy, his wife, and four children lived on their family farm located north of Portland in the State of Washington. The phrase “survived by” is a euphemism. Survived by meant that the Zylawy family lost a husband and father who would never come home again. His family will never again hear the metallic thud of his truck door as he closed it when he returned home from work. There will be one less place setting and one vacant chair at the dinner table. There will come a time when Mark will be remembered with laughter and not just tears when his family shares their recollections of Mark. I hope some of those bittersweet moments have already come to pass.

Officer Zylawy had two more families. They were the officers he served with and the citizens of Northeast Portland.

The residents of Northeast Portland called him the Z-Man. The Z-Man was their police officer. He belonged to them. The Portland Police Bureau wasn’t a monolithic agency of one thousand officers. Many of the residents of Northeast Portland regarded the Z-Man; Mark Zylawy; one officer; as the Portland Police Bureau. Respect for the Z-Man was also shared by those that Mark arrested: Some of them attended his memorial service. The Z-Man was held in high esteem in one the roughest areas of Portland.

To honor the Z-Man a group of police officers, private citizens, and the business community started the Z-Man Foundation. The Z-Man Foundation awards scholarships to outstanding students from lower-income families allowing them to choose from one of four private high schools in the Portland-Vancouver area; La Salle College Preparatory School; De La Salle North Catholic High School; Seton Catholic Preparatory School; and City Christian School. Z-Man scholars also have a police officer assigned to them that have volunteered to mentor them through their four years of high school.

The Z-Man Foundation motto is “It Starts With Me.” No matter who you are it does start with you.

Officer Mark Zylawy 10-79. This simple phrase was said at the end of his memorial service. 10-79 End of shift. I thought of all the times that I said 10-79 at the end of my shifts. A simple phrase said hundreds of times that in one moment became an epitaph for an outstanding police officer, husband, and father.

Officer Mark Zylawy 10-79, Rest In Peace

Published in Policing
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  1. Hoyacon Member

    Like, like, like, and more likes.

    Did coming from France to Montana to Portland help make Z-Man what he was? Do we need to get out more?

    • #1
    • June 3, 2020, at 4:34 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  2. Doug Watt Moderator
    Doug Watt

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    Like, like, like, and more likes.

    Did coming from France to Montana to Portland help make Z-Man what he was? Do we need to get out more?

    Sometimes I think that you should look for officers that have a wide range of life experience outside of being a criminal justice major.

     

    • #2
    • June 3, 2020, at 4:41 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Very nice. 

    Good to see some more good come from a senseless death. 

    But, I hate the slogan “It starts with me”, and I disagree with the sentiment. 

    No matter how much good I have done, no matter how much good I may yet do, it will never result in a change in the hearts of evil people. It will never result in a change in the hearts of selfish people. I have never seen my good works be rewarded. My life of service has been met with rejection, loss of job, being publicly liabled. Those wrongs will never be made right. Oh, I am no General Flynn, but it is the truth of the world that doing the right thing means nothing as an example to others. It means you get taken advantage of by others you try to help. It means you give up your dreams, or in the case of the Z-Man, his life. 

    So, I rather resent the notion “It starts with me”. I have been on this road my whole life. Please don’t tell me “It Starts with me”. I have already started, and have no moral victories at all. 

    I hope this foundation can change some lives. That would be nice. 

     

    • #3
    • June 3, 2020, at 4:59 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  4. Arahant Member

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Sometimes I think that you should look for officers that have a wide range of life experience outside of being a criminal justice major.

    I would agree with that.

    • #4
    • June 3, 2020, at 5:00 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. E. Kent Golding Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Very nice.

    Good to see some more good come from a senseless death.

    But, I hate the slogan “It starts with me”, and I disagree with the sentiment.

    No matter how much good I have done, no matter how much good I may yet do, it will never result in a change in the hearts of evil people. It will never result in a change in the hearts of selfish people. I have never seen my good works be rewarded. My life of service has been met with rejection, loss of job, being publicly liabled. Those wrongs will never be made right. Oh, I am no General Flynn, but it is the truth of the world that doing the right thing means nothing as an example to others. It means you get taken advantage of by others you try to help. It means you give up your dreams, or in the case of the Z-Man, his life.

    So, I rather resent the notion “It starts with me”. I have been on this road my whole life. Please don’t tell me “It Starts with me”. I have already started, and have no moral victories at all.

    I hope this foundation can change some lives. That would be nice.

     

    You may not know who you influenced, whose life you changed, who you brought to Christ. You may have some victories you do not know about.

    • #5
    • June 3, 2020, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  6. Jules PA Member

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Very nice.

    Good to see some more good come from a senseless death.

    But, I hate the slogan “It starts with me”, and I disagree with the sentiment.

    No matter how much good I have done, no matter how much good I may yet do, it will never result in a change in the hearts of evil people. It will never result in a change in the hearts of selfish people. I have never seen my good works be rewarded. My life of service has been met with rejection, loss of job, being publicly liabled. Those wrongs will never be made right. Oh, I am no General Flynn, but it is the truth of the world that doing the right thing means nothing as an example to others. It means you get taken advantage of by others you try to help. It means you give up your dreams, or in the case of the Z-Man, his life.

    So, I rather resent the notion “It starts with me”. I have been on this road my whole life. Please don’t tell me “It Starts with me”. I have already started, and have no moral victories at all.

    I hope this foundation can change some lives. That would be nice.

    It starts with you, and maybe the good you have done has benefited another in a way you may never know. Or maybe your good has set a path where another has avoided pain or tragedy, again, possibly so far removed that you are unaware.

    We do what is right, not because someone is watching, but because it is right.

    Your very story, that you’ve continued in goodness, in spite of continued trouble is in itself a good.

    You can put me on the list of influenced. Thank you for your perseverance. It matters.

    • #6
    • June 3, 2020, at 6:40 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  7. MichaelKennedy Coolidge

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Doug Watt (View Comment):
    Sometimes I think that you should look for officers that have a wide range of life experience outside of being a criminal justice major.

    I would agree with that.

    I used to interview applicants for the UC, Irvine medical school. The secretaries in the admissions department said I was the only faculty member who got my reports in in a timely manner. I always looked for two thing s in those applicants. Life experience out of school and some history of hardship. I still remember a few of them. I never learned if they were accepted. Other faculty members had quite different criteria for doctors. 

    One I remember was an Iranian immigrant who had worked in an aid station during the Iran Iraq War. He came over and his brother got him a job at Sun Microsystems on the night shift. During the day, he went to San Jose Junior College, then San Jose State College. He worried that anti-Iranian bias might be a handicap. It certainly wasn’t with me. He was exactly what I wanted to see in a medical student. Another was a Vietnamese girl who had a Masters in biology and worked in a lab at UCI. She told me how her father lifted her from bed when she was 9 and carried her to a canoe that took them to a fishing boat and eventually to a refugee camp in the Philippines. Another was an Iranian descent girl whose refugee father ran a Baskin Robbins ice cream store. When he had a heart attack, she dropped out of school to run the store for a year.

    One of the worst doctors I ever encountered was a plastic surgeon in Orange County who had graduated from Johns Hopkins medical school at age 19. They were thrilled with him and I saw the letters describing him as “the most brilliant student they had ever had.” He was convicted of second degree murder for the death of a young woman in his office surgery suite. He never called 911. In my opinion he was a sociopath. I can’t find the newspaper account any more.

    • #7
    • June 4, 2020, at 11:01 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Bryan G. Stephens (View Comment):

    Very nice.

    Good to see some more good come from a senseless death.

    But, I hate the slogan “It starts with me”, and I disagree with the sentiment.

    No matter how much good I have done, no matter how much good I may yet do, it will never result in a change in the hearts of evil people. It will never result in a change in the hearts of selfish people. I have never seen my good works be rewarded. My life of service has been met with rejection, loss of job, being publicly liabled. Those wrongs will never be made right. Oh, I am no General Flynn, but it is the truth of the world that doing the right thing means nothing as an example to others. It means you get taken advantage of by others you try to help. It means you give up your dreams, or in the case of the Z-Man, his life.

    So, I rather resent the notion “It starts with me”. I have been on this road my whole life. Please don’t tell me “It Starts with me”. I have already started, and have no moral victories at all.

    I hope this foundation can change some lives. That would be nice.

    It starts with you, and maybe the good you have done has benefited another in a way you may never know. Or maybe your good has set a path where another has avoided pain or tragedy, again, possibly so far removed that you are unaware.

    We do what is right, not because someone is watching, but because it is right.

    Your very story, that you’ve continued in goodness, in spite of continued trouble is in itself a good.

    You can put me on the list of influenced. Thank you for your perseverance. It matters.

    Thank you.

    It would be nice to see the results once in a while. I feel like a snowplow who never gets to see the cleared road. 

    • #8
    • June 4, 2020, at 11:26 AM PDT
    • 2 likes