Nine-year-old girl from northern Arkansas launches program to thank first responders
JASPER, Ark. (KY3) – Natalea Decker started Adopt-A-Hero in northern Arkansas. The program coordinates children with first responders to give them gifts and thank you cards.
Between the Buffalo National River and various hiking trails, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office remains very busy.
“It puts us in a unique position compared to a lot of sheriff’s offices because my guys must know a lot more than your typical law enforcement,” Sheriff Glenn Wheeler said. “We are a very rural community, which means we are a very poor community. My men and women don’t do this for the salary, they are invested and care about this community.
This is something 9-year-old Natalea Decker understands. Natalea’s father works at the Newton County Jail. She has several friends on the force, so she had an idea to say thank you. It all started when she wanted to give Christmas presents to her favorite MPs and with the help of her mother and her Girl Scout troop, an idea sprouted.
“I realized that not many people like cops and don’t want to thank and love, so I wanted to thank and love,” Decker said. “It’s important because they do a lot for our community.
So, with the help of her mother, she launched Adopt-a-Hero. The small project initially started at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office to assign the kids a hero to “adopt” and say thank you.
“We made several calls and realized that there was no set agenda and she was quite upset,” said Tiffani Decker, her mother. “So I said okay, so let’s make our own.”
Thanks to the program, several agencies have been adopted and can be assigned to a child. First responders typically ask for basic gifts like pens, notepads, snacks, and items to keep in their response vehicles.
With the help of social media, it continued to grow not only in northern Arkansas, but also in Missouri and Oklahoma.
“We have about 300 heroes in Boone County, Newton, Carroll, Searcy, Madison, Baxter, Marion County, all of them have been adopted so far,” Decker’s mother said.
“Thank you for helping us with Adopt-A-Hero, it started with this little heart for this amazing big heart,” Decker said. “I am so grateful and I couldn’t have done it without you! “
“So that she sees the sacrifice these people are making and wants to say thank you.” This speaks not only to the heart of this girl, but to the heart of our community, ”said Sheriff Wheeler.
For more information or to get involved with Adopt-A-Hero, click here to visit their Facebook page.
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