Update (noon, June 21): A relief fundraiser for Police Cpt. Jack Long is going on from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the parking lot of 1000 Bay Avenue at 10th Street.
The married father of two was recently diagnosed with cancer.
For $10, plates from Country's will include barbecue, coleslaw and baked beans.
This column ran in the Ledger-Enquirer on June 10
Jack Long is a big man.
He tells people he's 5-foot, 18-inches tall. And he is every damn bit of it.
Jack Long is also a cop, a captain in the Columbus Police Department.
A cop's cop.
Today, that mountain of a man is no longer in control. He has cancer and just found out a few weeks ago.
And since Jack Long can't control what is going on around him, his friends are doing what they can to help.
And Long has a lot of friends.
His friends are cops and barkeeps. They are people who walk the streets of downtown and own the restaurants and businesses.
Long is a case study in the good that happens when something really bad happens. You treat people right -- and that does not mean special treatment -- they rally to your side when you are dealt a crappy hand.
Over the weekend, they had two downtown benefits to raise money for Long and his family. They sold raffle tickets for bikes. They passed the hat.
Gene House has been on the Columbus police force with Long for nearly five years. Long and House work part-time jobs doing downtown security, mainly on the weekends. They make an interesting pair.
Some call House "mini me" to Long. They both sport bald heads; the only difference is the last time House saw 6 foot, he was on a ladder.
"That man has a heart twice his size," House said Saturday night as a Journey cover band was providing the musical backdrop for those with buckets and raffle tickets.
That's a massive heart. But Jack Long is a massive man.
Long, who has spent his entire career on the Columbus police force with a brief interruption to work in Atlanta, told House to go back to college. In his mid-40s, House is four courses shy of a degree.
"He knew I couldn't sit for the sergeant's test until I got the degree," House said.
All weekend, cops working downtown donated their off-duty pay to Long. That is a great act of respect from one officer to another. And appropriate. Long was always working a side job. The money being raised will help compensate for the loss of part-time income and pay some medical expenses, said Long's friend for 35 years, Capt. J.D. Hawk.
The officers donating their pay are doing it because they respect Long. And they should.
Respect is earned, and Long has earned it at every turn.
"What you are seeing from the law enforcement and business communities is an outpouring of respect and appreciation," Hawk said.
The Fraternal Order of Police is selling $10 barbecue lunch tickets for June 21 to benefit Long. The barbecue will be held downtown.
Almost eight years ago, Long took over the after-hours downtown security detail. He understood that you need to enforce laws, but he also understood how to do it in an entertainment district. Some
people understand there is a difference in the letter of the law and spirit of the law.
"He's a people's cop," said Uptown Columbus Inc. President Richard Bishop.
Jack Long is a people's cop in a time of great need. And the people know it, and want to help.
Chuck Williams, senior editor for content, email@example.com.