Policemen are your friends. Almost everyone can repeat these words from our childhood; but I haven’t always believed them. Perhaps it was growing up in a small town where local police promoted the stereotype that high school students out after dark absolutely “must” be doing something wrong. Maybe it was listening to our local police chief say he would “save paperwork” by writing up the fire in my mother’s gift shop as electrical, regardless of the broken window and missing cash register, since he “probably wouldn’t catch whoever did it anyway”. Somewhere in the middle of all this I began to hold a grudge. So how could one story possibly change my entire opinion of the boys in blue? Easy, it’s an amazing story!
Every year the Maryland Heights Police Officers Association (MHPOA) hosts a charity golf tournament to fully fund the Ranken Jordan Children’s Pediatric Hospital Christmas program. This year I got a chance to sit down with the MHPOA president, Jeff Swatek, to learn more about the event. Believe it or not, shortly after our conversation, the first thing I wanted to do was hug a police officer. Considering my history, this was a big deal; I knew I had to get the word out.
The first thing Swatek explained to me is that Ranken Jordan is a pediatric bridge hospital, meaning a place where children facing a range of life changing injuries or illnesses can more easily transition from hospital to home care. He went on to state that money raised by the MHPOA to fund the Ranken Jordan Christmas Program would be used to provide every child in the hospital with at least one gift, hand delivered by Santa himself. To add a little more “aww” factor, the gift each child receives is something directly off their “Christmas list” which the officers help them write in advance. When I asked Swatek why he personally chose to support this event he simply said, “There is a ‘do unto others’ mentality that we are trying to pass along.” Finally, to further tug at my heartstrings and give Sarah McLaughlin and all of her puppies a run for their money, Swatek showed me the video below: Christmas at Ranken. With that, I said so long to my grudge and started writing.
This tournament took place at The Golf Club of Florissant on Monday, June 2nd, 2014. Make sure to sign up to receive daily emails from Real Life STL to keep track of the details of the 2015 charity golf tournament.
For more information on Ranken Jordan Children’s Pediatric Hospital, please visit their website.