By MICAH WILKINS
July 9, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Sometimes, a simple thank you can make all the difference.
On June 28, New Beginning Apostolic Church, at 200 N. Bales, held a Heroes Day Event to recognize the work of police officers and firefighters serving the Northeast community.
According to Jason Cooley, KCPD’s Community Interaction Officer, events like these are hard to come by, especially in urban areas and the inner city.
“It’s not something you get much of,” said Cooley, who has been with the East Patrol for five years and has never known of a similar event to be put on by a church or other organization. “It’s something that’s long overdue.”
The event, which included a prayer, speeches from officers and a catered lunch, was organized by one of the church’s members, Asheley Brown, to recognize those who serve and protect the Northeast.
“A lot happens in the news and they get a lot of bad press, but they sacrifice their lives every day,” Brown said. “Civil workers aren’t used to being appreciated.”
New Beginning’s pastor Herman Gantt, an ex-marine, came up with the idea to hold the appreciation day, and hopes to continue hosting the events annually. According to Cooley, the event was well-received by the officers in attendance, who feel more connected to the community as a result of the event.
“Small acts of kindness, gestures like that, they open up windows,” Cooley said. “They open up doors to better relationships. It allows officers to have more ownership in the area. Now, it’s personalized ownership. We have faces and names we can relate with them and they have faces and names they can relate with us.”
Fewer than one-third of the East patrol officers were in attendance, Cooley said, but he hopes that, as the years go on, more officers will attend the annual event.
“We don’t do what we do for recognition,” Cooley said. “It’s cool when people recognize you for your hard work. If you know someone appreciates you and the work you do, you’re going to take the extra step to take care of them.”
Brown also hopes that the annual event will compel other locals and groups to support the police officers and firefighters who serve the area.
“The point of today is to say ‘Thank you,’ and that’s it,” Brown said. “Even if just one person feels appreciated, it’s a success.”
According to Cooley, the event reaffirmed the mission of the police officers and firefighters who serve the Northeast.
“[The church] put their hearts into this,” Cooley said. “They served us, checked in with us, cleaned up after us, and their service won’t be forgotten. It was an example to every police officer that that’s how we need to serve the community.”