I owe John Bissell for saving my life after my four children disappeared in 1996, and for the help he provided to my son Aaron.
I am making this statement to put what I know about John on the record. I believe I owe where I am today to John perhaps more than any other person, because he helped me live through the ordeal.
I am grateful to John Bissell beyond all possible recompense for the actions he took on several occasions and at his own expense as we attempted to get a lifeline to my son Aaron before his death in 2005.
On one of those occasions, I became aware that Aaron’s illness had worsened, that he was probably out of his medications and getting no help of any kind from anybody, and that he had become homeless somewhere in or near Payson, Utah. I had no current address and Aaron had stopped answering his cell phone.
The first person I thought to call for help was John Bissell, and I caught him as he was driving westward on a highway in Arizona. I began to explain the situation to John, and as I spoke he told me that he had already turned around and was on his way to Payson, Utah.
That’s the John Bissell I know….
He had already calculated how many hours it would take to get to Payson, and we developed a plan: John would start with Aaron’s last known address and work from there.
I cannot express too strongly the relief I felt knowing that John Bissell would be on the scene, knowing also the skill set he brings to a situation when someone’s life is on the line.
John Bissell and my father, the late John Cruz, were both career police officers, and much alike in the dedication to public service that infused both their personal and professional lives, always ready to help someone at a moment’s notice, and very good at providing real help in an urgent situation.
John and were in constant communication throughout the day. I was able to work from my office in the Oregon legislature, contacting every resource I could think of, and John and I, working as a team, found my son.
Unfortunately, my son’s condition continued to worsen.
I want the record to show, however, that John Bissell dropped whatever he was doing and drove to Payson Utah expressly to provide urgent assistance to Aaron, and that he did this on three separate occasions, all at his own expense.
I want to state that I will follow this statement of support with an additional statement of support describing the circumstances under which John Bissell saved my life and will publish both statements to my blog: www.blogoliticalsean.blogspot.com
I also want to state herein that John informed me very early in our relationship of the criminal issue in his past, and we discussed this at some length. It is my understanding that he paid his debt to society some twenty years ago, has been completely rehabilitated, and there are no other issues or incidents in his life either before or since that time that should be of concern to any other person.
Over the time that I have known John Bissell, I have introduced him to other persons, and I am witness to the fact that John informed these persons of the darkest hour of his past and did so of his own volition and—in my opinion—needlessly.
I am also witness to so many incidents where John provided assistance to even complete strangers with the same level of compassion, selflessness and professionalism that he brought to my family to conclude that this fine man has dedicated his life to the service of others and he does so as a way of life.
I stand ready to provide additional information in support of John.