While walking through the memorial wall recognizing fallen officers who died in the line of duty, one of our editors came across something that made him smile.
Among the tears, the broken hearts of those saying goodbye to their loved ones…. there was a sign of explicit positivity.
And it came in the form of donuts.
This young man has been bridging the gap between police and the public. (Facebook)
I know, I know. How do donuts play into National Police Week and honoring the fallen and their families?
“Police are humans just like me and you. They have a job to do and that job must be done.”
11-year-old Tyler was standing at by the street of the memorial passing out free donuts to any officers who would take one.
But why? Plain and simple. Tyler loves police. He’s sick of the stigma that those defending the Thin Blue Line are racist and hateful.
He wants to bring people together. He wants to close the divide between officers and members of the community. And he’s using food to make it happen.
“You guys are rockstars. Y’all are truly my heroes and my best friends.”
We got a chance to interview this incredible young man about his impressive mission.
What’s the mission behind ‘I DONUT need a reason to THANK a cop’?
My mission is to thank every cop in America and show them appreciation by hosting thank you events and granting departmental needs.
I was at a local store with my mom and saw four deputies. I asked my mom if I could use my allowance money and buy them some donuts to say thank you for their service. They were very happy and when we left! I asked my mom why they were so happy. Mom told me that it wasn’t the snack they were happy about but instead it was the fact that I took the time to say thank you.
Tyler has been to events in nearly every state in the country. (Facebook)
But I kept asking. Doesn’t everyone thank the police? She explained that a lot of people judge a whole by the actions of a few and because of that, sometimes they are not very nice to police and have even purposely hurt and even killed officers for no other reason than that they are a cop. This made me really sad and I knew I wanted them to know I loved and supported them. I told my mom I wanted to thank every cop in America and buy them each a donut. And so began my journey!
Donuts are sometimes called ‘Police Power Rings’ and it’s their favorite snack, kinda like Popeye with his spinach!
What made you want to create a better relationship for officers and the public?
I want the public to have a better understanding of what officers do everyday and also be able to see them as humans. They are moms, dads, sisters, brothers, people just like you and me. I think if people could view them in a more humanized way and realize that they have a job to do and the job must be done in order to keep safety in communities, then there would be less hate towards them. It is very important also for kids growing up to know they can come to any police officer if they are scared or hurt or need a friend/hero.
What was your first event?
After I purchased the donuts in my local store, we decided the first event would be with their Sheriff’s Office – Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in Pensacola, Fl.
What events have you been to?
I have hosted multiple events in 45 states this far and by August I will have been to all 50 states to represent and thank officers. I have been to many of the states multiple times to do thank you events. I also was a guest speaker at the C.O.P.S. conference in Washington DC in 2017, guest speaker at the Blue Line Ball in Minnesota 2018, and I have attended and thanked officers at many other events I was not the primary host of such as Annual Chiefs Associations meetings, FOP lodge events, Torch Run, National K9 conference, and more.
Tyler wants to be a police officer in the future! (Facebook)
What message do you have for civilians in America?
Police are humans just like me and you. They have a job to do and that job must be done. Before you believe everything you see in the news and judge someone on a few seconds of a whole event, you should verify all the facts and then ask yourself if you were in that situation what would you have done? The answer will most likely be that you don’t know…unless you have ever been in true fear of your life or shot at etc., You don’t really know how you would respond.
“I wanted them to know I loved and supported them.”
How would you respond if you had to be the one person running toward gunfire or toward a really bad person when everyone is running away? These brave men and women are heroes. and although there will always be a few bad apples in ANY group of people, the VAST majority carry out their duties with the utmost respect and integrity. I would simply ask you to view police like this… There are some really bad priests who have harmed children, but do we hate all priests or church? No.
There are some really bad doctors who have caused death to people that shouldn’t have died. Do we stop going to the doctor? No. There are some horrible teachers who have abused children. Do we stop going to school? No. What we do is weed them out. There is a process and a protocol and the departments follow this and they do weed them out.
What message do you have for police?
You guys are rockstars. Y’all are truly my heroes and my best friends. I wear a cape when I deliver your donuts and thanks, but you guys don’t need a cape, y’all are super without one! Keep up the great job you’re all doing and on the days when you feel alone and like no one supports you, please send me a message and I promise I will remind you that to me , you are SUPER HEROES and I always have your back!
How can people find you?
How can people help?
I take direct donations on my website and my Facebook page. The PayPal account is [email protected]
I am currently hosting a 1-in-1000 raffle for a $2500 prize pack and the tickets are $20 each, I am only selling 1000. I am raising funds to continue my mission and be able to host more appreciation events and grant more needs for Officers. I have already purchased one bullet/stab proof vest for a K9 and have a Boot Giveaway contest going on now.
National Police Week – Photo courtesy: Kevin Ruark
What does National Police Week mean to you?
It is the most humbling experience I have ever been part of. I myself want to be a police officer and I already consider myself part of the Blue Family. It is a very hard thing to see so many people mourn the loss of a brother/sister in blue or a family member at the Memorial and throughout Police Week, but I am so happy that these heroes get to be honored in that way and that even though they may be gone they WILL NEVER be forgotten. These men and women made the ultimate sacrifice and I am honored I have been able to shake the hands and hug the necks of their partners and families. This year, I had my first experience with an Officer I met personally and thanked, only three months later dying in the line of duty and it breaks my heart. It is a constant reminder that life is short and we are never guaranteed tomorrow, so choose to be kind and have love for others instead of hatred. Choose to back your local heroes.
What does service mean to you?
Service to me is doing whatever you can or whatever it takes to improve the lives of others. Being someone who puts others needs before your own and giving fully of yourself to others. My mission is one of service also… I want to serve those who serve us daily!
What does America mean to you?
Being an American to me means being proud of who you are and standing up for what you believe in.
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