Remember the Two Children Found Near Winco, One Naked and Wrapped in a Blanket? Meet the Heros Who Helped
Last August 22, a six-year-old girl wearing a shirt and pajama pants but no shoes and her naked three-year-old brother wrapped in a towel/blanket found their way to Winco at the Eureka Mall about 9 p.m. According to a witness, snagged in the boy’s towel was a hypodermic needle.
Eureka Police spokesperson Brittany Powel said the next day, “Employees said they had removed a needle stuck in the blanket prior to officers arrival. It is unknown how the needle got in the blanket.”
This last week the citizens who helped received an award from the Eureka Police. The letter acknowledging their heroism tells the tale. It states in part,
On the evening of August 22nd, officers with the Eureka Police Department were sent to a local business where employee Steven Moreno located two young children walking around unattended, not properly clothed and dirty. Moreno was joined by employee Kerra Hogue-Lindow. Together, they recognized and removed drug paraphernalia which was imbedded in one of the children’s blanket. Employee Jamie Peterson, who had finished her shift, sat on the floor and interacted with the children.
Alice Birney Student Services Coordinator Rachel Bass, while shopping, recognized the children and too began interacting with them. She contacted Teacher Alysha Simoni who abruptly left her classroom with Luke Lancaster to bring clothing and food to the children and assist in locating a family member.
Often in law enforcement, it is said there is no more innocent victim than a child. This could not be truer during this incident. During this incident, these citizens showed overwhelming compassion, concern and self-sacrifice. They took positive, voluntary actions to ensure these children were safe and their necessities were met.
According to Chief Steve Watson:
Over the course of three days this week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday), it was our pleasure to award several deserving Eureka citizens for their compassion and attentive actions on August 22, 2017 in rescuing, protecting, and nurturing two young children who were found abandoned and neglected outside a local business. During this incident, these citizens each stepped forward and showed great compassion, concern and care for these innocent victims who needed a hero. They got 6: Steven Moreno, Kerra Hogue-Lindow, Jamie Peterson, Rachel Bass, Alysha Simoni, and Luke Lancaster. These deserving individuals were nominated for the award by the appreciative Eureka Police Officers who responded to assist.
From the Valor-Service Award citation:
It is the mission of the Eureka Police Department to “Work in partnership with the community to prevent and reduce crime, to safeguard public trust, improve the quality of life and protect the future of Eureka through dedicated professional service.” EPD is committed to promoting community-oriented policing concepts and positive relations with the public we serve. We further this purpose by acknowledging valued citizens and groups who commit acts of extraordinary kindness or valor, unselfishly give of themselves to help others, or perform other good deeds that go above and beyond the normal courtesies society expects.
To this end, we commissioned the minting of a special “challenge coin” to be awarded to deserving individuals who give of themselves in an exceptional manner. This unique full-color coin represents the Eureka Police Department’s cherished values of VALOR, SERVICE, and COMMUNITY and may be displayed proudly. These values are printed on the coin’s face surrounding the Great Seal of the State of California. The reverse side of the coin depicts the emblem found on the Eureka Police Department patch.
As Chief of Police, it is my pleasure to honor and recognize you for your courageous and selfless actions. Please accept with this coin the recognition and thanks of the Eureka Police Department.