Former police chief Jose Pequeno, injured in Iraq, comes home
By RAY DUCKLER Monitor staff
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Iron Mike and Rhino never saw it coming.
They never figured Jose Pequeno, the former Sugar Hill police chief, would react as he did Friday at the Concord airport. Hadn’t that brain injury Pequeno suffered in Iraq pushed him into a world of darkness? Hadn’t that grenade tossed into his humvee nearly seven years ago wiped clean his memories, his emotions, his very identity?
That’s what people like Iron Mike and Rhino, along with the others with the rugged nicknames and the biker jackets and the barrel chests, thought when they greeted Pequeno on his trip home for Christmas.
Instead, Pequeno cried.
So the tough guys did, too.
“I saw him shortly after he came home from Iraq, and he was still in and out of surgery back then, in real rough shape,” said Iron Mike, whose real name is Mike Dempsey. “It’s very personal, but I feel as if he recognizes who we are now. When we talked to him, you could see his eyes light up and his face light up. To me, that tells me that he recognizes the voice, that he gets excited and makes it known through his own way.”
Dempsey is a 51-year-old former Marine with a gravely voice and a passion for motorcycles. He rode with Pequeno’s father in the Nam Knights of America, a philanthropic organization of retired law enforcement officers and military veterans.
They raise money, and they roll out the red carpet for people like Pequeno.
Four Nam Knights joined hands to lower Pequeno down the stairs, off a plane flown by a volunteer pilot from Land O’ Lakes, Fla., where Pequeno is now being cared for by his mother and sister. His wife and three kids still live here, in the small North Country town of Lisbon.
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Monday, December 31, 2012
If you know the Nam Knights, they do this kind of thing all the time and I do mean "kind" so it is great to see the New Hampshire Nam Knights get some recognition for how much they really do care about the men and women risking their lives everyday. Jose Pequeno was a police chief and was wounded in Iraq. The Nam Knights are members of law enforcement, firefighters and veterans.