Kids Know Heroes When They See Them

By Stephen Owsinski

Despite the divisive strategies and shallow rhetoric employed by politicos in tax-payer-funded fiefdoms, youngsters with ground-level presence and organic heartstrings know best when there’s a boots-on-the-ground hero in their midst. And thank goodness for that.

A neighbor of mine, Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chris Mosesman was on duty in his assigned patrol zone and was flagged down by a young boy who seemed elated when he saw the iconic presence of a law enforcement officer and the mainstay “public safety” emblems affixed to the police cruiser.

You see, this 11-year-old youngster, Joey Bacchi, Jr., had come across a senior citizen who somehow went down in a roadside ravine while walking his dog.

Realizing his efforts to help the elderly man tethered to a pooch could use some solid back-up, Trooper Mosesman materialized in true cavalry fashion (even if he didn’t know it at the time). The pieces ordinarily fit snuggly together when karma writes the script of goodness.

Trooper Mosesman shared with the National Police Association that Joey “was cleaning around his school and found an elderly man who fell into a roadside ditch. He needed medical help, so Joey flagged me down and I summoned EMS.”

The dynamic duo of young Joey and Trooper Mosesman saved the day by rescuing the senior citizen. You can bet Joey will forever hold dear the experience of saving a life with the aid of a state trooper, heroes to each other.

(Photo courtesy of Joey Bacchi, Sr.)

And that’s the thing: Kids know heroes when they see them, whether during a situation requiring help or just the knowledge that LEOs are self-sacrifice-oriented brave souls manifested for all who may need them at any time and in any given situation evolving everywhere across our beloved country.

Like father, like son, Joey Bacchi, Sr. posted the following along with some pictures of his heroic son and his heroes with badges: “I want to give a special thanks to my buddy [Trooper] Chris Mosesman and Sgt. Arch from FHP for all they have done for my son. And I’m proud of my son Joey for his participation in rescuing an elderly man in his time of need. Very special day and moment.”

Heroes all!

While Trooper Mosesman and Joey conducted their save in the sunny south, a Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office deputy in the recently shivery north found himself in the presence of a kind-hearted boy who recognized the need to give selflessly, effectively aiding the badged hero.

Sometimes, it is a small gesture which has a large impact that goes a long way.

In Penobscot County, Maine, a youngster named Bentley discovered that doing for others (like cops do all the time) and living life without expectation is an extraordinary character trait to possess, both today and throughout many tomorrows.

Deputy Mark Fucile was waiting to pay for a sandwich when the convenience store’s power went out (stormy season we’ve been reading about lately). The deputy’s debit card was useless without power to transact funds electronically. In steps (literally) eight-year-old Bentley who, reminiscent of Tom Sawyer characterization, emptied his pockets of change he had saved for ice-fishing bait. Of the many virtues in this kindhearted scene, a child is offering what he had to fill up his belly…so that an on-duty cop can fill his (duty fuel). Hero for hero? Indeed. Makes for a perfect Norman Rockwell-like composition, don’t you think?

Typical of police officers, a group of criminal justice professionals in the region heard what Bentley did, so they coordinated, gathered a bunch of goodies afforded by their own pocket change (perhaps meant for ice-fishing bait), and presented it to young Bentley at his ice-covered home.

Another example of a lesson a child will keep indelible, and it involves cops as saviors who…sometimes need saving too (even if it is just a few bucks for a ham sandwich).

Here is how the Penobscot County deputies see it: “This amazing act of kindness did not go unnoticed. Bentley’s actions planted seeds in many and showed how a simple gesture can mean so much. At a time of turbulence in our country, this young man’s act inspired our deputies, encouraged a community, and taught a lesson to both young and old. The power of helping one another can change lives.”

Absolutely! And that last sentence is the nature of our law enforcement institution and those it serves, emphasized when the tables are turned: Proof-positive.

Seeds come in all shapes and sizes, and they have varying dividends when watered properly.

For Bentley’s random act of kindness, his ninth birthday party was attended by a bunch of badges and, “ice fishing gear, shirts, hats, mugs and gift cards” as part of a “big thank you,” per the Penobscot County Sheriff’s site.

(Bentley and his heroes. Photo courtesy of the Penobscot County, Maine sheriff’s office.)

Whether police officers, firefighters, nurses, doctors, and all manner of essential workers, kids know what heroes look like, what they do for so many people, and (without expectation) how deserved they are of recognition for being assets in the interest of public service toward humanity, especially in times of strife.

Like Joey and Bentley, I was enamored with NYPD cops when growing up in Brooklyn, NY. Literally since kindergarten, I watched cops doing the job. I admired each one. I respected all of them. I knew what selflessness was before I could correctly spell it in my first Spelling Bee in grade school. I knew then that I wanted to spend my life as a policeman.

Albeit many years later, I became one.

On my beat I had the distinct privilege to meet many youngsters, never once feeling any iota of distance or reservation or hesitancy from a child. Greetings were always robust. Smiles galore. Naturally, the cool cop stuff such as police lights and wailing sirens telegraphing the sounds of rescue was their focus. I get it; I recall when that made my day too, so I was all too obliging to brighten these small round faces who had nothing but joy and empathy for cops, even at way-young ages. Kids seem to know, instinctively. Subsequent indoctrination by adults in their circle of supports is like sprinkles on the cake.

Unfortunately, that indoctrination can (and sadly does) go both ways.

Even in those whose early experiences culminating in positive thoughts are baselessly and shamefully altered by a hate-filled parent or adult propagating nonsense and passing it off to children as scripture; a malignancy with which we remain burdened yet hopeful of magnificent metamorphosis.

Some of those I met were re-provided truth. You know the score on that subject matter: some stay lost to reality of public safety pros serving as forces of good. Instead, they spend life with polluted mindsets which cops must then mitigate per statutory stipulations when contentious encounters materialize.

Yet, I firmly believe kids inherently know via innate senses that law enforcement officers are unyielding guardians of society with resources to make/keep things right, and that police personnel show up with iconic markings symbolizing the arrival of salvation…just like little Joey observed and embraced, becoming a hero who may also aspire to be a cop down the road.

In that context, one “’Troubled kid’ becomes elite police officer” according to the Eagle Tribune. Jessica Botero was a wayward youngster when she was 15. As she tells it, “I was a troubled kid. I didn’t have much discipline.” That altered when a LEO caught her attention and ultimately influenced positive changes in her life.

Per the Eagle Tribune, “At the suggestion of her guidance counselor, Botero went to a Lawrence High School presentation that featured a female trooper talking about her profession.

“Botero saw how focused and centered the trooper was—and she caught a glimpse of her own future.” See? Even when disillusioned with life circumstances, a young mind beamed with admiration for a hero she only knew because of the uniform.

“Today, at age 27, Botero is a Lawrence police officer” who made history when she became “the first female member of the department Emergency Response Team, a highly trained group that handles the department’s most dangerous and high stress situations.”

Effectively assigned to the Patrol Division, where most folks and especially kids observe cops on the daily, Officer Botero boasts, “You can definitely help your community.”

(Police Officer Jessica Botero. Photo courtesy of the Lawrence, Massachusetts police department.)

Again, the spawning of huge change from bad to good (resulting in a law enforcement career) commenced when a compass-less teen (Botero) attended a “trooper’s presentation when she was in high school” and enrolled in “a month-long trooper academy” which she credits with “helping her develop the confidence and discipline she previously lacked.”  

Another trooper witnessed by a youngster. A lasting impression. One more save. Another cop. Heroes exponential.

Many cop/child bonds sprout in our nation’s school systems, where LEOs serving as school resource officers (SROs) do everything from book reading to listening to math anxieties to the shortage of pepperoni pizza in the cafeteria. SROs are effective lifelines for young minds, and the dividends are bright smiles, as depicted in our cover photo (compliments of Sgt. Michael Fisher with the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department).

These human experiences between heroic cops and young hearts and souls far outweigh the politicos in those public-funded fiefdoms who seem to feel righteous by bull-horning defund the police and abolish the police messaging.

Kids know better, much better. They are well-suited and wise beyond their years.

(Abigail Rose Arias was sworn-in as an honorary police officer in February 2019, joining her heroes before soon-after succumbing to cancer. Photo courtesy of the Freeport, Texas police department.)

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