Residents of Ocean View and Dagsboro are being encouraged to donate to, and attend, Thank a Police Officer Day at the Ocean View and Dagsboro police stations in September.
Organized by Andrea Baumann, who runs the Delmarva Supports Law Enforcement page on Facebook, the event is planned to thank police for their service and dedication, and to give them gifts in recognition of their service.
“Miss Baumann helped plan my 16th birthday party. I am autistic, and nobody went to my party, so the police came and had a big party and a big parade. My mom put up a post that nobody came to my party so they planned that for me. I was very surprised,” Gavin Smith said.
This year, Thank a Police Office Day will be at the Ocean View station from 4 to 5 p.m. on Sept. 20 and from 11 a.m. to noon in Dagsboro on Sept. 21.
Smith said his family was invited to participate by Delmarva Supports Law Enforcement and Hogs for Heroes.
“My family and I, who live in Ocean View, make cards, banners, and shop for special treats to make gift bags for each officer. These gift bags also include whatever community donations we can gather. We will be setting a table up at each station on their set date and time, with balloons and all other gifts,” Smith said.
“Our hope is that people come, sign the cards and banners and shake the officers’ hands to show them how much we appreciate all they do for our towns. People can bring a gift, card, case of water, gift certificate, or just come by with their kids,” he said.
Not only do officers make visitors feel welcome, he said, but children learn not to be afraid of them and to call them in case they get lost or need help.
A last year’s event, Smith said, Ocean View officers “brought out a small child-sized police car to give the children a ride” and invited children to sit in the cruisers.
“Ocean View also has a K-9 dog named Hardy, so we made it a point to make a gift bag for him, too,” Smith said.
Local Boy Scout Troop 281 gets involved, as well as businesses that donate. One year, Parsons Farm donated a basket of fruit and vegetables for each officer.
Residents have made personalized blankets and baked goods, and donated snacks and hand sanitizer to put in the gift bags.
“It is a wonderful event to show everyone how important it is to give back to their community and to show the officers how much we respect them for what they do,” Smith said.
Donations can be made in advance or taken to the events. Call (302) 363-5658 or see the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/2130228610570768/?ti=as.
By Susan Canfora