Two on-duty officers from the Etowah Police Department surprised a family with gifts on Sunday.
After finding out that an Etowah family was throwing birthday parties for two of their three children, EPD Officers John Ferris and Bridge Rodriguez arrived bearing gifts.
The mother of the children, Jennifer Garrison, expressed her gratitude while recounting that day.
“We had an officer drive by who noticed the balloons and they asked my husband, who was outside at the time, whose birthday it was,” said Garrison. “He explained to the officer that we had our youngest son’s first birthday last Sunday and that we were holding a double birthday party for my other son and daughter (this past Sunday) because my other son had to have his party postponed due to the COVID situation.”
According to Garrison, the officer who inquired at the party was Rodriguez, who is already familiar with the residents in the area.
“He usually sees the kids out playing while he is patrolling and he will stop to say hi,” noted Garrison. “So when he found out that it was the kids’ birthday, he left and came back about an hour or two later with another officer (Ferris) and they knocked on the door with presents for all three of the kids for their birthdays.”
She believed that it was “amazing” to see the police officers doing that for the children in their community, especially with the current controversy police officers are currently facing across the nation.
“It meant the world to us,” stated Garrison. “We always try to teach our kids that when they see a police officer to thank them for what they do.”
She believes the officers have made a lasting positive impact on her children.
“My daughter was so happy to see Officer Rodriguez come in with a birthday present for her that she became overjoyed,” Garrison stated. “My son was also overjoyed to see that they thought of him. He actually says that he wants to be a police officer or join the military because he wants to be somebody like them, someone he looks up to.”
EPD Capt. Daniel Hampton said this is part of the community outreach the department tries to focus on.
“I think it is awesome,” said Hampton. “This is something that we have always done, like buying Christmas trees for kids at Christmas.”
He believes acts like this help strengthen the bond between the police department and the community.
“It shows that our officers are caring about the people in the community,” stated Hampton. “I’m not sure if they knew the children or not, but I think that it still shows a little bit of heart.”
Garrison thanked the Etowah Police Department for the officers’ service and community involvement.
“If it wasn’t for our police officers and first responders we wouldn’t be able to live safe and worry free like we can,” said Garrison. “I especially want to thank officers Ferris and Rodriguez for taking the time out of their day to think of my kids and make their birthday special.”
She hopes that citizens in the community will also take the time to thank police officers for their service.
“Don’t think of them as a badge and a gun because they are normal people just like us,” she said. “They go out and they put their lives on the line for everybody, but underneath the badge they are just like the rest of us. They are someone’s father, somebody’s husband, somebody’s son and they deserve the respect and support from everybody because of what they do and the sacrifices they make.”