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LINDSBORG — Thursday Lindsborg police chief Michael Davis had a special assignment for officer Terry Reed — one that would put a smile on more than just a few faces.
The police department had received a tip to follow up on. There was a 96-year-old woman in town that needed a special welfare check.
“They told me that Aleda [Penn] had a birthday today, and that she was feeling lonely,” Davis said.
She was feeling lonely because she’s stuck at home — like so many others — due to COVID-19 and stay at home orders at the state level. Restrictions on groups of 10 or more made a party out of the question. There was, apparently, no one to visit her on her birthday,.
In the LPD’s view, that called for action. In a town of 3,458, it is not hard to know nearly everybody. And police department members know their fair share of the populace.
According to Davis, Reed knew Penn well — which is why he was picked for the special assignment.
The two officers picked up some cupcakes and a birthday card, then headed out on the special assignment. Just as Davis expected, it put a smile on more than one face.
“It not only brought her spirits up, but ours,” Davis said. “We wished her a happy birthday so she did not feel alone. … This is a way to reach out to some of our seniors.”
During this time of self isolation — a stay at home order was issued by Gov. Larua Kelly last week to last through at least April 19 — seniors may find themselves depressed. According to an article published in 2019 by the American Psychological Association, social isolation with adverse health consequences including depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, accelerated cognitive decline, poor cardiovascular function and impaired immunity at every stage of life.
“We want to connect with people who may be forgotten. We want to fight that depression. We know it is tough to be stuck inside,” Davis said. “ … We want our seniors to know that we are out there.”
Davis said making a connection like the one made Thursday is at the “roots” of community policing, and that he wants to do more.
“We are going out and making that one on one connection with people,” Davis said. “It was outstanding. It made our day. ...We love our community and it is nice that we can help those out that may not be fortunate to have family in the area.”