Stonewall salutes first responders as heroes without a cape
Lexington Police were glad to answer this non-emergency “S.O.S.” call at Stonewall Elementary. Lt. Joe Anderson and Lt. Jeremy Tuttle, who both have two children attending the school, stopped in for the breakfast ceremony to honor police, firefighters, EMTs, and other community heroes without a cape. “They were excited for us to be here and for people to know their daddy’s a police officer,” Tuttle said. “A lot of kids look up to you as a hero – to save and protect them,” he noted. “We’re here to be a positive role model, and it helps to build trust.” Anderson agreed Stonewall’s initiative was an effective, nonthreatening way to connect first responders and students, adding, “We have a uniform and a job to do, but we can hang out and get to know people on a personal level.”
Nearly two dozen first responders came by for the Nov. 16 event, which the students titled “S.O.S.: Saluting Our Saviors.” Stonewall had reached out through families, friends, and neighbors, and had invited the professionals via emails, phone calls, flyers, signs, and social media. “There’s all different types of heroes, and sometimes we need to take that time out to thank people and share kindness,” said Julie Lippert, the school’s gifted and talented resource teacher. “I want them to walk away feeling that we have this high honor and respect for them.”
Fifth-graders Holly Marshall and David Wimpy, who served as emcees, echoed that sentiment. “Sometimes we don’t say thank you, but we wanted them to know we appreciate them,” David said. “Not every hero in the world has to be a superhero,” Holly added.
The idea sprang from this year’s PTA Reflections theme, “Heroes among Us,” which many of Stonewall’s students explored this fall for the annual arts competition. “We look for opportunities for our leaders to give back to the community and to use their voice,” Lippert said. Children gifted in art, drama, music, dance, creativity, and leadership organized the S.O.S. program, which featured songs, poetry, photography, visual art, a violin composition, skit, rap, line dance, and a short film. Third-grader Jax Thompson said his film, which stars sub sandwiches in various professions such as doctor, sends the message that anyone can be a hero. “We all have special skills and special talents. We can all do our part,” he said.
Anderson was grateful for the students’ hard work on the program, and he reiterated that the local community is full of heroes behind the scenes. “Being a hero is making those everyday decisions to do positive things,” the police officer said. “It’s the small moments and small decisions that really add up to making a difference.”