Spreading Friendship and Joy to our Law Enforcement Personnel
Posted on: September 19, 2016 | Posted by: Deborah Guinther
Lately, news stories have bombarded us regarding violence and the loss of lives in police departments across the country.
The stories often lead people of all abilities to ask questions like why did this happen and what can we do to make the situation better. Linda Peck Athens, Program Manager for Bethesda’s Day Program in Portland, Oregon, discussed this with her staff.
Several people in the Day Program are very sensitive to the events going on in the world around them. They, like all of us, want to help make things better for all people, including the Police Department. When they are out in the community, they see Police Officers on their beat. They know that the police are there to keep them safe.
During a staff meeting, Linda proposed that the group make a big card to express their gratitude for the service provided by our local police department. Jennifer Tennant, Direct Support Professional (DSP), suggested making friendship bracelets to hand out to the police officers.
Many people became involved in the project. Justin, who Bethesda supports at the day program, made bracelets with some assistance from Jennifer and Robin, DSP. Wayne, a person Bethesda supports, assisted Robin with choosing photos for the card collage.
While out and about, Justin saw a police officer he knew. He offered him one of the friendship bracelets, which Officer H. P. Miller graciously accepted. Justin beamed with pride as he put the bracelet on the wrist of the 18-year police veteran.
On Friday, August 5, Officer H. P. Miller visited the people supported at the Day Program and their staff to express his gratitude. There were lots of smiles as everyone gathered for a group photo. Teresa Lermon, Regional Director, was equally pleased to see how a national news and concern sparked love and kindness into the hearts of her staff and those Bethesda supports.
The news about the friendship bracelets spread among the officers at the Central Precinct. On August 18, three police officers arrived at the Day Program where Justin, his staff and the other people Bethesda supports at the Day Program were waiting. There was a big round of applause from the group, along with lots of smiles, hugs and high fives. Justin beamed with pride as he presented the card to Sgt. Passadore and Officers Williams and Ellison.
The gifts deeply touched the Officers. They admired the handiwork of the friendship bracelets and read the card. There was a lot of love and laughter in the room. People gathered together to have their pictures taken. Smiles were everywhere you looked.
All too soon, it was time for the Officers to return to duty. Before they departed, Justin asked if he could have a ride in a police car. Sgt. Passadore said it would be okay. Justin and Linda, Program Manager, buckled themselves in for a ride around the neighborhood. A few minutes into the ride, Sgt. Passadore received a call from dispatch, giving him instructions to an incident in the area. He turned to Justin and said, “I am going to have to turn on the lights and go fast back to the office.” Justin grinned big and hollered as Sgt. Passadore drove quickly, but safely back to the Day Program. Justin had a smile on his face the rest of the day and stated it was the most amazing day ever!
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