To: MSP Retirees
From: John T. Boggs, MSPTA Retiree Committee
Date: December 6, 2019
Recently a young Trooper decided to end his own life. An Army veteran who served in Afghanistan and was secretly suffering from PTSD left a widow and 3 young children. None of us know why this tragic event happened, but most of us have seen senseless deaths is our careers. There is nothing we can do to help this troubled young man, but we can help take care of the family he left behind. All our careers we heard, “We are family.” Well, either we are or we aren't. The MSPTA Retiree Committee votes that Yes! we are in fact family.
We are asking each of you to contribute to help the widow and those three young (eldest is 4) children left behind. Their church is attempting to raise money to help. We believe that as an organization we can “dig deep” and help out also.
Please send a check made payable to Emalyn Twist.
Mail your check to
404 S. Sheldon St.,
Charlotte, MI 48813,
I will deliver them to the widow. It is our sincere hope that through your generous donations the widow and family will look back during this Christmas season on the Michigan State Police as their extended family.
Thanks, John Boggs
James Oliver Twist, husband of Emalyn, father to Charlie, Josie and Ben, and youngest child of John Twist and the late Caroline Robinson, died Wednesday, October 23, 2019. He will forever be 27.
Born Tuesday, June 30, 1992, James attended Thornapple Elementary, Central Middle, and graduated from Forest Hills Central, class of 2010. James wrestled at FHC on the J.V. and Varsity teams. He was a Boy Scout achieving Eagle Scout. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the United States Army, completed basic training at Fort Knox, and was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C. He made a dozen jumps.
James served one tour in Afghanistan in 2012, where he was deployed in the Kandahar Valley. On his frequent emails and phone calls home, he shared his passion for helping others and talked often about the work he and his fellow soldiers did for nearby villages, including building schools. He truly believed his work offered the Afghan civilians even a little bit of freedom and hope.
James returned from Afghanistan in October and met his wife, Emalyn, through mutual friends. After a whirlwind two weeks, they spent the next several months apart as James finished his Army service. One January evening in 2013, he surprised Emalyn underneath a brilliant light sculpture and asked for her hand. They married in December, 2013, and a year later their first son was born. Missing the camaraderie of the Army, James joined the Army Reserve and served with the 321st Psychological Operations Battalion in Grand Rapids.
After four years with Costco, James entered the State Police Training Academy, graduating in July, 2018, Trooper #1615. He had nearly completed his B.A. at Cornerstone University.
Despite James' infectious energy and ability to light up a room, he secretly suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He sought help, but faced "an invisible war in his head," as he called it. He struggled to share his experiences yet actively encouraged fellow veterans to reach out to the Veterans Crisis line. On Tuesday, October 22, he took his own life. On Friday, October 25, he saved six lives and gave others life-changing gifts through organ and tissue donations.
As a soldier, James saved lives. As a State Trooper, James saved lives. And in death, James continues to save lives. James will be remembered for his generosity, his charisma, and most especially, for his humor. He loved so many people and was loved by so many people.
James leaves his wife, Emalyn Jade, and three children: Charles Gabriel, age 4; Josephine Caroline, age 3; and Benjamin Brooks, age 1.