I introduced myself to Greg Alia at the Circle K in Forest Acres, because I felt God telling me I needed to talk to the police, to rid me of my fear of them. He opened the door for me; I shook his hand in appreciation for his service. I asked how to pronounce his name. When I mentioned that I was stressed, he asked “What can I do for you right now?” Everyone can learn from that.
Greg Alia was an upstanding police officer, and an amazing human. Even in his death, he gives me inspiration. I asked God, “What do you want me to learn from this?” Here’s the answer I felt: We all need to remember that anyone can be gone at any time. Appreciate the good people who are in your life while they are here. If someone is good to you, do everything in your power to keep him around.
Forest Acres police officer Greg Alia remembered as upstanding man, father
Officer Alia knew I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the Army, but he always listened without judgment and treated me just like another soldier would — as an equal. At 3 o’clock one morning, he saw me in a parking lot and asked why I was there. “I’m homeless,” I said. “I’m not committing any crimes.” More questions: Have you tried this or that shelter? I’ll call this shelter for you right now.
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“I’ve tried all these things,” I ranted. And I ranted, and he heard me out, and finally, without hesitation, he asked: “What if I paid for your hotel room tonight?” I had prayed that night and trusted God to give me a place to sleep, so I took my blessing.
Greg Alia was an angel. I’m grateful God blessed me with him when he did. I didn’t know him that well, or that long, but he touched my life. And now he has been murdered.
Community rallies around police
The last time I saw him was at Circle K. I told him I was praying for him, his wife and baby. I thanked him again, and told him “one day, I’m gonna be able to give you and your family tons of money.” He didn’t laugh at my dreams; he listened and supported me. I can still see his face when he was leaving. It was full of satisfaction, like “Wow, I really helped this woman.”
Officer Alia changed my mind about the police and made me feel safer. It’s people like him who make people believe we can change the world — because they have changed the world. At least he changed my world. He showed me Jesus, restored my faith in humanity and gave me hope.
Changing the world starts with one person. What if we were all that one person?
Liberty V Justice — she had her name legally changed to that this spring — studied Christian creative writing and does voluntary ministry work. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What I learned from Greg Alia
Don’t judge, just listen.
Don’t laugh at people’s dreams; when they succeed, you’ll feel bad you tried to crush them.
Be grateful for what you have while you have it.
Do what you can now, and you’ll make a difference and be celebrated when you go to heaven.
Lift others up; that’s our greatest blessing.
Invest time in people today; we could be gone tomorrow.