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Grand Rapids girl thanks officers who helped her through traumatic times

Alaina Hall will be a sixth grader this coming school year. But even in the summer, she's hard at work on her mission to give thanks.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — Sitting at a picnic table outside her home, Alaina Hall's pen is moving fast. She's got a stack of thank you cards to fill out. They're all intended for police officers. 

"Sometimes I like to give them cards, and sometimes on the holidays, I like to give them like a gift bag, a challenge coin, and maybe a bag of treats and goodies. And sometimes we go down to the station and give them a bin full of goodies," Alaina said.

Alaina's relationship with police officers goes back years. Officers were there for her during traumatic times. Alaina and her mom Katie would prefer not to go into specifics about those tough times for this story, and we're respecting their wishes. But Katie did tell us this:

"We knew at some point we'd have police interaction, and I wanted our kids to be comfortable around them, so we started handing out cards," she said.

The giving of those notes came on the heels of the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Nationwide there were protests, unrest, and debates about policing.

In the midst of all that tension, the notes were a welcome sight for the officers receiving them.

"The response we got was overwhelming. We've had officers cry we've had officers just so shocked and surprised. We've even had people say we didn't realize anyone still liked us anymore," Katie said.

Sgt. Joy Matthews with the Kent County Sheriff's Office was so blown away by Alaina's kindness, that she decided to give her a private tour of the department's mounted unit training center in Rockford. During that trip, Alaina got to spend time with some of the officers who had previously helped her.

"It was just very therapeutic for everybody. It was really nice for Katie and Alaina to see kind of the different side of police officers and just continue to build that bond that I know I felt right away," Sgt. Matthews said.

"Seeing the joy on Alaina's face was indescribable. After the fact, she wrote me a card and said it was the best day of her life, and Katie wrote me a card and said she cannot stop saying it was the best day of her life."

Katie describes Alaina as a social butterfly and says that she's found inner peace by showing kindness to others.

"She wants to do good and wants to help other people, and she's learned to that by helping other people, you feel good about yourself," Katie said.

Sgt. Matthews said if she ever had a daughter, she would want her to be just like Alaina.

"I don't know where she's going to go in this in this world, but I really look forward to being there with her in her journey, because I know whatever she decides to do she's going to serve other people."

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