HYANNIS, Mass. (AP) - The weather outside was frightful when Chatham police Officer William Little was in the middle of a traffic detail on South Street, Hyannis, earlier this month.
Suddenly, a young woman emerged from a car and handed Little an envelope. It contained a $5 Dunkin’ Donuts gift card and a note that read, “Thank you for all your hard work! Stay safe.”
“It was a freezing cold day,” Little said. “It’s a simple thing. But it meant a lot.”
The woman was from Recovery Without Walls, a Falmouth-based nonprofit organization that helps women in early recovery from substance abuse. About a month ago, volunteers and clients at Recovery Without Walls began giving out cards to police officers and firefighters.
The random acts of kindness started when William Dougherty, the founder of Recovery Without Walls, read a Facebook post by friend Michael Carney, a retired Springfield police detective.
Carney had put up a video about California police Officer Jose Vega, killed in a line-of-duty shooting in October. The video showed several of Vega’s fellow officers accompanying Vega’s daughter to elementary school on her first day back after his death.
In a note with the post, Carney asked people to buy a cop a cup of coffee or give officers a hug for their service.
Dougherty was touched. And soon he and his team began roaming around the Cape with $5 coffee gift certificates in their cars.
Dougherty now has a team of about 10 women, a mix of those enrolled in his program and community volunteers, who give cards to officers and firefighters.
Dougherty plans to continue to give out the cards for a year, he said.
It helps the young women, whose lives may have been saved when a police officer or firefighter gave them the opiate overdose reversal medication Narcan. It teaches them to be involved in community service, Dougherty said.
And it helps the first responders see that their work is appreciated.
“It’s an extremely stressful and dangerous job,” Carney said. “A lot of people say that’s what you get paid for. Well, you don’t get paid to get killed in the line of duty. I think the public could be a little kinder.
“When I heard what Bill is doing I thought, wow, this shows how grateful they are to the police,” said Carney, who himself has been in recovery from substance abuse for 27 years.
Information from: Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, https://www.capecodtimes.com
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