As Hurricane Harvey ravages parts of Texas and Louisiana, volunteers have traveled from near and far to conduct rescues and offer aid to victims. One group of volunteers includes several off-duty police officers from Waco, Texas, who decided to use their own free time, money and equipment to help people in need.
As the group headed down to South Texas, the Waco Police Department shared an emotional note that Commander Scott Holt received from his daughter Makenna before departing for the rescue mission.
“Dear Daddy, I hope you don’t get hurt, but I hope you help other people that need it more than you do,” the little girl wrote in her note. “I hope everyone gets away [from] the hurricane. I love you!”
Waco Police Department spokesman Sgt. Patrick Swanton told HuffPost he knows Commander Holt’s family well. “Makenna is just a little spitfire of a kid. She’s a daddy’s girl,” he said. “It took everything Scott could do to keep her from loading up in the truck to go with him.”
The sergeant asked Commander Holt if he could share the note on their Facebook page. “I thought it was important that our community see that these officers are going down there on their own time, putting themselves in harm’s way and their families know what they’re doing and couldn’t be more proud,” said Swanton.
“Makenna knew her daddy was going into harm’s way, and the note shows her giving him permission to do what he was doing to do because she knew he would be helping people,” he added. “She’s a special kid, and I wanted to share that with folks. A little girl whose daddy means the world to her ― she’s basically giving him away to the people of South Texas to do whatever he can do to help.”
The off-duty officers and their volunteer group have made many rescues since heading down to Kingwood, Texas on Monday, Swanton said. They’ve spent time rescuing people from houses, an apartment complex and even an assisted living center. They’ve also rescued multiple pets and other animals, including a deer.
Though the group started in Kingwood, some of them have headed toward Beaumont after the storm caused devastating flooding there as well.
Makenna’s note has spread beyond the Waco community. On Wednesday, the popular Facebook page Love What Matters shared it, and the post had received over 5,000 likes as of Thursday afternoon.
Swanton said he didn’t expect the note to go viral, but he’s proud that he can shed light on the amazing work that police officers ― as well as firefighters, soldiers, first responders, EMS workers and more ― are doing in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
“We are Texans and we’re going to help Texans when we can,” said Swanton. “I think the note also shows that we have such a strong support system behind us with our families, and we couldn’t do what we do in law enforcement without that support from our families and peers behind us.”
Here’s how you can help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.