The first day of school can be overwhelming, and no young student should experience the milestone alone.
Charlee Winebrenner, the daughter of slain Akron, Ohio, police officer Justin Winebrenner was welcomed on her first day of kindergarten with love and applause from her father’s colleagues, the Barberton Herald reported.
Escorted by her mother and grandparents, the 5-year-old arrived at Turkeyfoot Elementary School, which is part of Coventry Local Schools, on Thursday to a lineup of enforcement officers from multiple Ohio counties. “They promised me that they would take care of this little girl for the rest of her life,” Charlee’s grandfather, Rob Winebrenner, told the Barberton Herald.
Justin Winebrenner was killed while off duty in November, attempting to stop a gunman at an Akron pub, Cleveland.com reported.
"He was a big, strong kid," Akron police Chief James Nice said at a press conference following the incident. "He was good-natured. He was a well-liked officer."
So when Charlee’s first day of kindergarten arrived, Winebrenner’s fellow officers wanted to show their support by giving her a proper welcome for the milestone she experienced without her dad. As Charlee walked into the school, officers cheered and clapped, wishing her good luck for the big day. Some officers even came directly from an overnight shift.
“I know that they will always be there for her,” Charlee’s mother, Alyse Shanafelt, told WOIO. “And it helps knowing that I don't have her father there anymore to go to, but I have all of these guys behind me to go to.”
This article has been updated to identify the local district of which the school is a part.
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