UPDATED; Police Officer Meets Angel Unaware Initiating a 3 part God Wink PLUS ONE; Spanning 28 years


L) Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) at 17 in Lubbock, Tx. M) Swearing in as a police officer on the Davenport, IA force. R) Mother of 5, victim of an in-home invasion rape.

YOU READ IT CORRECTLY. This story  happened in 3 parts beginning 1998.  In my belief system God Winks are like anonymous contacts allowed by God. Never doubt that it can be subtle or blatant; unsettling or reassuring, but it lets you know that there is something profound in the “lesson” or “experience” that is meant to touch your life…Author Joyce Godwin Grubbs.

Police officer Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner)  was a decorated police officer of the Davenport Iowa Police Department. The second woman added to the department, she was also the first in the nation to have her own patrol car. She was  honored by the International Women Police,

Trula International award

She was also recognized for heroism with two other officers involving removing tenants from an active residential fire. A training officer and first woman to work undercover with the QC MEG (Quad Cities Metropolitan Enforcement Group) she was also used  undercover on various department stings. A sex crime expert who became a vocal rape victim/survivor, she became a police officer as a mother of 5 children (1 toddler and 4 pre-school and elementary age, when she joined the force. She received an appointment as an  Honorary Colonel in the Iowa National Guard and was awarded her “wings” at the Iowa Capitol by Governor Terry Branstad.

TrulaTanner kiddos

Picture 1: Brad, Darrin, Amy and Rhoda. Picture 2 and 3: Jason This is a picture of the ages of the children when Trula joined the police force following the in-home invasion rape at a time before there were any advocate/counselors for victims, and no police women on the Davenport force. Trula determined to fill the void and help bring resources to victims to see them into being survivors.

Trula, Gov. Branstad and Steve

L:) Iowa State Representative Steve Grubbs (Trula’s nephew) M) Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, and R) is Trula Ann Godwin Tanner  at the Iowa State Capitol.  She  is about to be presented her honorary Colonel’s wings designating her as an Honorary Colonel in the Iowa National Guard.

YET, AS THE FIRST GOD WINK APPROACHES, HERE SHE SAT, ALONE AND IN DESPAIR . A frequent visitor to the various bars in the area of her beat and after shift with fellow officers, she had chosen one that was not her usual. A small bar where cops weren’t the usual customers and she could be alone and quiet.  She wanted to contemplate the devastating news she had just received.  It would not only end her career, but her life. It would be her lowest moment in her life. The doctors had informed her that the personal  breast cancer war she had battled for five years was coming to an end. NOTHING MORE TO BE DONE. She was dying.

Trula had shared with this author, her sister, that during that period she felt as though “she had worn out her friends and family who had stood by her in that period of time.  They were faithful, supportive, but dwindling in contact and in availability.”  She expressed feeling for the first time as though she had “worn out her welcome” . While she still had the desire to “fight on” she realized it might be a small support group that cared to see her through to the end.

Alone at the bar, no doubt feeding money to the juke box to hear old classics by Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, Sam Cooke, and any others from her youthful era of the 50’s and 60’s, she would have been sipping her beer pouring it over ice. A newly acquired habit following her chemotherapy days. She normally would have been one who would make small talk with the man who came in and sat next to her at the bar. Hearing the stories of people, their lives and struggles, was her favorite pass-time. Yet that day she had to be “prodded into it” by the naïve man who tried to strike up a conversation, undoubtedly ignorant of the fact he was speaking to a cop, as she was in her familiar Harley shirt and jeans.

Trula at the Col Ballroom with Buddy Hollys Crickets and Ray Congrove photographer

Trula in 1984 with The Crickets after friend Buddy Holly’s death. Also pictured in dark suit is Photographer and friend Raymond Congrove.

Described later as a “scruffy”, un-kempt, small Hispanic male, looking more like a migrant worker than a “townie”, Trula found herself slowly making small talk with him, mostly listening rather than talking. But whether it was the beers or something he was saying in his calm, broken English, she found herself confiding her private pain to him.

The facts were that she had been told by the doctors that she was at the end, and there was nothing more to do. No more surgeries, the double mastectomies hadn’t worked. The cancer was in her body in several different places. She was at the end of the chemotherapy or having any expectations of it working. She had almost died due to a medical, surgical, error when the specialist slipped and punctured through her esophagus into the chest cavity during what was supposed to be a minor outpatient procedure. It caused her to spend almost a month in the University Hospitals, requiring 24/7 treatments even after she got out of ICU. The doctors had painfully admitted it was a miracle she survived.

trula and amy

Seen here with her oldest daughter, Amy, it was a night to forget the cancer and go the theatre and out to her favorite restaurant.

Sometimes a listener is enough to be grateful for. And this man listened, not asking questions, but looking at her as she spoke and letting her “get it all out.” At the end of her  story he reacted by removing a necklace and pressing it into her hand. “This was given to me by my mother, and she said it would keep me safe. I want you to have it and it will keep you safe.”

Trula did not even look at the necklace but slipped it into her jeans pocket and thanked him. Knowing my sister she would have had a hard time doing more than just saying thank you. She was, inside, an emotional person, but after 2 decades on the police department, she had learned restraint and caution in letting her emotions show. After all, she had just “bared her soul” to a stranger and that was not her usual reaction.

That night, having returned to her apartment, she began to undress for bed. She reached into her jeans pocket and felt the chain of the necklace and pulled it out. It was, to her amazement, a gold necklace with a gold medal of St. Guadalupe. Her recent  intent in exploring conversion to Catholicism made her aware  of St. Guadalupe .  She knew about her appearing to an humble, Indian male, December 9, 1531 ( his baptismal name became Juan Diego thus causing many to believe he was Hispanic). Trula knew about the appearances of The Lady to him, and to his uncle who was seriously ill and expected to die. The uncle  recovered after her visitation directly to him.  The Bishop who had to be “persuaded” with additional proof, then sanctioned building her chapel where she had first appeared and which still stands near Mexico City today. 

Many times Trula would return to the little bar, scan the populace as she drove thru her inner city beat, looking for her 21st century Juan Diego, the Angel Unaware. She was on a mission with a thankful heart. It was remarkable that in the days, and finally weeks, following the encounter where she was given and now wearing the St. Guadalupe necklace, SHE WENT INTO REMISSION, and LIVED another 4 YEARS in what her oncologist and doctors at the University  called a “most unexpected, unexplained,  remission.”  She never found her benefactor again, but began to think it was “meant to be.”  After all, she had entertained the company of an Angel Unaware.  Heb 13:2: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have unwittingly entertained angels unaware.”

Trula God wink 2 in 1

Officer Trula Ann Godwin Tanner’s picture provided by her son Jason Tanner. He has kept this picture with her St. Guadalupe medal and police badge together with the knowledge of this story and it’s significance until the “contacted him posthumously, yes I said posthumously, and initiated Part 2 of the 3 parts of the God-winks.

PART TWO: GOD WINK 2: My Sister Trula’s Time Capsule Arrived 13 Years After Her Death: It would change lives forever, but specifically her “baby boy” whose life was about to ‘go back in time’.

In the beginning;

It was Sunday in January, 2016 when I  checked my Facebook.  There was a private message; not unusual, I often get them and this one had just popped on. It was from a “Ben Miller.”and Ben was wondering if I might be a contact for a lady named Trula Godwin? His wife (Dana I found out later) was working on a dresser they bought at the local DAV store and used for the last 12 years. That day, when she tried to return a drawer to the dresser, it would not go in. Couldn’t budge it. They examined it and there seemed to be a hidden or special area hiding a large amount of materials in it. He could not wait to deliver it to me after finding out my sister had passed away in 2002.

ben miller and dana

Ben and Dana Miller thought they would refinish the old dresser they bought 12 years before at a DAV. Their discovery of a hidden compartment during the preparation, revealed the items of the “time capsule” of Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner). Their generosity of spirit and attitude resulted in their delivery of the capsule that same day.

When Ben delivered it there were so many items and as I sorted through them I was astonished at the selected items she had secreted in the special area hidden in the dresser’s structure.  To read about each of them please feel free to read the entire encounter/story by looking at the index of stories here on my WordPress blog and selecting “God Wink: My sister Trula’s Time Capsule Arrived 13 Years After Her Death. It is in the heading (black area) above. https://joycegodwingrubbs2.wordpress.com/god-wink-my-sister-trulas-time-capsule-arrived-13-years-after-her-death/

For now, the relevant item of the bunch in discussion is a letter written 24 years ago. Due to this “God Wink” I am now able to reveal with permission, the nature of the letter in the time capsule which I could not when it was first opened and I wrote the original God wink story. “THINGS HAD TO HAPPEN FIRST”. (Many pictures and details are in this post you can access in the original post..)

 There was a letter written to my sister Trula from a young woman in response to Trula’s letter to her.  She discussed with Trula the decision to raise her baby on her own with the loving support of the man she was to marry. However, she wanted Trula to know that this baby would be well cared for, loved, but not told of his biological father. The biological father was Trula’s son. This was about Trula’s grandson that she would never live to see.  I gave the letter to Trula’s son Jason as I knew that was why it was included in the time capsule.


Jason and Zac2

This was the trip Jason made to meet his son. It would turn out to be his only visit. It was agreed that thereafter, Jason would be given  information, but would not be known to Zach as his father. His mother was married to a loving man who would be a loving father to Zach.  Jason honored the wishes of this mother, his friend,  who he knew would give Zach a life filled with stability and love. He has not seen Zach in person in 24 years since this picture.  

Jason and Zac

In full disclosure again, Jason is my nephew whom I love dearly. This picture tore at my heart as I know the struggles of his life in the military, with his other 2 children, and the desire to be a father to be counted on. I see how young he was here and it reminds me of the melancholy that would always be a part of the robust, leader and warrior, whose life was often defined by the Army and the challenge to be strong.












reunion Jason Tanner

The Army received the fresh-faced 18 year old right out of high school as he determined to “become a man that my family can be proud of”. Thus, with that decision breaking up his marriage, he would find himself on his own and the Army became his family until his retirement from the military.

In the habit of pacing outside his home when in turmoil, Trula’s son Jason would often “talk to Trula and his beloved grandmother Marguerite” and felt he often “heard” from them.  After receiving the letter from the Time capsule while in Iowa to meet his first grandchild, he went through his “ritual” conversation, then felt led to contact the mother of his child and tell her he was ready, if she was willing, for his son to know about him. This was a long time in coming for Jason due to concerns of how his son would take knowing his biological father had not been in the picture to raise him.

The urgency was, when Jason made contact with the mother of Zach, he found his son was expecting to be a father in his own right in just months. Family medical history was becoming important. This tried and proven former Army Sgt. was fearful of his son’s reaction and afraid that it would over-shadow his son’s happy expectations about the baby girl he would meet in October.

Jason had recently married and his new wife Kellie D. was a rock. She urged him to take the leap, she steadied him when he waited impatiently not knowing if he would get a scathing reaction from his son, or worse, hear nothing.

Kellie D

Jason and Kellie at their outdoor wedding in Arizona. Their passion is hiking and spending time traveling in Arizona and surrounding areas.

Hearing from his son Zach was overwhelming. Zach’s mother had shared with him that it was her decision and Jason had honored it as he was in the service and deployed to Somalia and later to Afghanistan, and as a career Army personnel, he was often in a ‘dark place” in his life, personally and professionally. The most important thing Zach learned about Jason from his mother was that buried in Jason’s heart was a radar about his son. At critical junctures in Zach’s life and his mother’s, Jason thru the years would call and check on them, as he had last done when he went, then survived Afghanistan.

zach and skyler with margaritas

A caption of “happiness and promise” on their faces. Skyler and Zach are in love.


Zach Reese and Skyler Roberts ice cream (2)

Zach and Skyler enjoying life, love and awaiting their “bundle of Joy.”








The status now is that Jason will be going to “meet” face to face, his new granddaughter after her birth in October. Jason and Zach are in contact and finding their “way” that is mutually comfortable, and that Jason feels isn’t intrusive out of respect for the wonderful family Zach has had and who love him.

zach and skyler with baby pic (2)

Zach and Skyler, their contented and proud smiles say it all.

But as Jason says, “I’ve always needed to know what my mom thought about all of that, and the letter in the time capsule allowed me to know her thoughts, her struggles and her love for Zach. It was right before me in black and white. It was the catalyst to me contacting Zach’s mom to learn more about Zach and re-unite. The timing was perfect for me to get the letter, perfect for Zach to learn about his family and its members. Especially, his grandmother who loved him from afar.

It was no coincidence that when his great-grandmother died, Zach’s name appeared with those of her great-grandchildren,  all those years ago in 1998. It was on the written materials used for her funeral and memorial. (Yes, many were trying to figure out who he was as Jason had protected his son from scrutiny.) But anyone who knew Jason’s grandmother Marguerite Marrs Godwin (Smith), would know she and his mother Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) would have had it no other way. ( Her funeral happened in 1998, the same year Trula encountered her Angel Unaware.)   .


Part Three: God-wink 3

As part of his reconciliation with his son Zach, it was clear to Jason that Zach had never received any gifts from him since that first and last visit together. He wanted to make a meaningful gesture of love and inclusion as he had already shared so many things with his first born, his daughter Bridgette who was already actively texting and becoming acquainted with her “new brother” and had just had the first grandchild, a son. Jason had also given many of his military possessions to his son Brayden. He searched his heart, conferred with various family members, including this author, as to whether his idea was “appropriate” and would be meaningful. Then he decided.

Bridgette and Jason

Jason with his first born, daughter Bridgette on a recent visit to see him in Arizona.

Brayden profile pic

Brayden, Jason’s third child is now out of high school and deciding his future.

Jason valued the fact that when his mother  gave him the St. Guadalupe necklace from the Angel Unaware, she wanted him to wear it in when he was deployed to keep him safe. He chuckled as he remembered he did not wear it in Afghanistan because of the heat and problems it would have caused, including his fear of losing it. Instead, he always kept it hanging on her picture along with her police badge she had worn during her career. These three things he valued more than any mementos, and thus after informing his children of his choice and reasoning, he packaged up his treasure and sent it to his son Zach.

He told Zach that he wanted him to have it and possibly wear it until the new grandchild was old enough to appreciate it and understand the legacy behind it. He told Zach that his mother had specifically said, that the story of the Angel Unaware was to be told and remembered as part of the family “legacy”, so Jason charged Zach with keeping it in the family and passing it down. He was holding his breath when he didn’t hear back from Zach right away and wondering if he received the package, when Zach contacted him. He was very grateful for the gift that meant so much to Jason, and was like a validation he was an integral part of the family. He was excited to know the story of the necklace, and more about his grandmother.


This is then, my effort to help and share the story. It is especially important to remember that there truly are angels unaware among us, and there is a reason we come into contact with them. So Zach, from your great-aunt Joyce Godwin Grubbs, this is my way of welcoming you in the family and giving you the charge to carry on for your grandmother who loved you and whose blessing would definitely be given in this gifting of the necklace to you.

Trula God wink 2 in 1

UPDATE; UPDATE;UPDATE;UPDATE********************************************



She did it again and so the God Winks continue;

After trying to plan a reunion around the birth of his son’s first child, and holidays and other thoughts, it wasn’t until January, his mother Trula’s  birthday (now in heaven) that Jason was able, with his wife, to visit his son Zach, wife Skyler and new, beautiful baby girl Lilly. I believe it was her way of letting them know she was there and knew of the reunion. From Tucson to the Southeast U.S., the trip was more than they could have hoped for.

Jason described it as all four adults being on the “same thread from beginning to end” and no awkwardness whatsoever. His son Zach used the same words. So just a couple of pictures from that wonderful occasion.

zach-with-familyjason-with-zach-familyWe look forward to my sister Trula manipulating many more things in their lifetimes, and we know that she is thrilled they are ‘together”.

zacj-ice-creamFather and son and their own brand of humor; finding out it “meshes” and the two are one.


About joycegodwingrubbs2

Some call me retired: I am RE-FIRED. I have written 15 books, plus 3 written as a "ghost writer". I no longer offer the novels as printed books, having them only available as Kindle Ebooks since my retirement as a novelist. Twelve books are on Amazon.com Kindle eBooks: collectively they are known as The Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series.They are real cases fictionalized into suspense stories to protect identities..( no victim/survivor names were compromised, and workers and locations were protected.) I also co-authored a non-fiction book: Footsteps Out of Darkness: The Annabelle Kindig Story . It is available on Amazon under the name of Annabelle Kindig. I have traveled, written from the heart, and found an audience that appreciates my "platform". The catalyst to writing the novels was the realization that if I died, I would take all my amazing experiences in these real cases with me; and believe me few have lived 5 lives in one. It would "silence the voices" of the victim/survivors whose triumphs are written into these novels. The suspense series was written in part with the collaboration of police woman and sex crime expert Trula Ann Godwin. In addition to the novels, I have written as a ghost writer for a World War II veteran who fought in the South Pacific aboard the USS Maryland in all the major battles. I have also written a non-fiction book recording oral history stories of my family members beginning with the 1930's to present. There are sixty-six "legacy" stories with pictures. It was recently published as a private printing for family and close associates only. I am a published photo journalist having won the 2009 Editor's Choice Award for internet freelance news articles and pictures of the Cedar Rapid's Iowa flood victim accounts and their personal struggles.. My husband and I are in our 52nd year together (only one blip on the marital radar together), and we have adopted three greyhounds; Dex, Big Buddy and Baby Doll. These were the inspirations in the Greyhound Lady Walking suspense series We have eleven grandchildren, 7 grandsons and 4 granddaughters. My three children live in Iowa, Wisconsin and Ohio.
This entry was posted in Angel Unaware, Army Strong, Davenport Police Department, Family Legacies, God winks, Governor Terry Branstad, Grandparent Love, Honorary Colonel Iowa National Guard, Iowa State Representative Steve Grubbs, love child, Military, Ohana, police woman, Q.C. Metropolitan enforcement Group MEG, reconciliation, secrets, Signs after death, St. Guadalupe, Trula Ann Godwin (Tanner) and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to UPDATED; Police Officer Meets Angel Unaware Initiating a 3 part God Wink PLUS ONE; Spanning 28 years

  1. Dottie Irwin Melko says:

    Tears,tears,tears!Thisvstory somewhat matches a situation in our family. My sister had gone to CA to marry a sailor boy she knew from home. While he was gone, a fellow Navy “man” raped her. Afraid she left & went back home, called her husband to be & ended it out of fear. A couple of months later, she found out she was pregnant. She was hustled off to Buckner Baptist, a home for unwed mothers, where she had a little girl who was white! Important because the man who raped her was black. She had to give up the child for adoption. All her life, she sent cards & letters to this child to Buckner, who would forward them to the adoptive parents. One day my sister received some pictures from the adoptive parents with a note of no meeting the child. She was devastated but excited & sent me the photos by email. The first picture astounded me…..I was looking at me when I was younger! Years later, my sister died of COPD & strokes. Her son decided recently to look for his unknown sister & a friend of my sister’s found her!! They have met & keep in touch with her, I have talked to her on the phone, my mom has talked to her on the phone. It is an ongoing story at this point. We tried to contact the father (my sister’s fiancee who never knew of this child) , but he was deceased. Now we have a great grandson to my sister, only in her place in Heaven will she meet the whole family!! We set up a Facebook page so we can privately post photos & stories to learn about each other. I called it Mary’s Dream!
    Thanks for sharing this story!! It thrilled my heart!!

    • Dear Dottie, the Lord works in mysterious ways. I am thrilled to hear the “ending” of the story and know she was returned to your family (in a fashion.) One can “what if” this story to pieces, but the important thing to know is that you all, as family, carried on and made the connection. Wonderful to know of the Facebook page. At my age, all I have left is my original dream to “touch people’s heart and mind, but the stories I tell, and the replies I get that are shared. Bless you and I hope you keep sharing her story. It will bless some people that are struggling, with situations, and with the aftermath of shattered dreams. For me, ” I just want to be read” so the people here the voices or real people and gain hope and courage” from their stories. Bless and love you dearest friend.

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