I feel fortunate that I have more than a few people in my life that I can count on to help and support me, no matter what the situation. Among those is someone who has faithfully served the Colorado Academy community since 2005: Director of Security Ed Bleã. I see Ed every day on my way to work, and I am going to miss him so much as he heads off into retirement. He always greets people with a smile, and I feel safer knowing that he has my back.
Ed is a person you can count on to protect and serve. He models this in everything he does. I have witnessed him protect the school with a high degree of personal commitment. When we have thought about our response to a possible school shooting, he always assures me that he will be the first one into the building and would do whatever it takes to protect our students and faculty. Over the years, we have relied on Ed to be on the lookout for threats to the safety and well-being of the community. He has cultivated relationships with the Lakewood Police Department that have been invaluable for our staff trainings and responding to emergencies. If a student or employee has an accident or needs medical support, Ed is there. In fact, I have noted that Ed has a unique ability to be at the right place at the right time.
Ed served the Denver Police Department for 33 years. In 1971, he began his career at the age of 21. Ed worked his way up to the rank of Detective and retired from the Chief’s Office in 2005. During his career, he received many commendations and medals, including the Police Service Cross, the Medal of Honor, and a Life Saving Award.
Recently, I asked Ed about what drew him to serve in the Police Department. He told me that when he was 18, he was working on a construction job up at the Eisenhower Tunnel on Interstate 70. In this job, he made $10,000 a year, which seemed like more money than his father had made in his entire life. Ed spent some of his hard-earned income on a 442 Oldsmobile hot rod. On his way to work, Ed was pulled over by a State Trooper. The trooper said to him, “Hey, Mexican, where did you steal this?” Ed spoke back to the officer, noting it was his car and that he was as good as the officer. The bigoted trooper told him, “You could never became a cop.” Well, Ed saw that as a challenge. Shortly thereafter, Ed passed the police exam on his first try. He noted that discrimination was rampant in the 1970s, and it followed him throughout his career. He had to prove himself. Ed told me that one thing he has appreciated about CA is how we treat everyone equally.
Within months after retiring from the Denver Police Department, former Head of School Chris Babbs learned that the guy who lived two houses down from CA was a retired police officer. In 2006, Chris hired Ed to work at CA as our Director of Security. Over the years, I have received numerous messages of gratitude for how Ed has helped people who might have an issue with their vehicles or has helped students get into a locked building to retrieve a book or personal belongings. Ed goes out of his way to help others. Every day he is in the Dining Hall, making sure that students are safe as they gather.
When I asked Ed about his favorite memory of CA, he immediately responded, “Giant Relay Day.” He loves the interaction of the families and students, as well as the shared sense of camaraderie: “It’s like a big family.” He said he won’t miss carrying a two-way radio on his hip. He is looking forward to spending time fishing with his grandchildren.
There have been so many times when there has been an incident, and Ed is already on the scene. I asked him to what he attributes this remarkable ability. “I think it is a gift from God. I have always been able to see things that others couldn’t see….it’s just a sixth sense,” he says.
I am so grateful for Ed Bleã. Thank you, Ed, for your amazing service to the CA community, and we wish you good luck and good health as you enjoy your well-deserved retirement!