Redding class invites police chief for heroes week

According to the Oxford Dictionary, a hero is a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements or noble qualities.

In Laura Burbrink’s second grade class at Seymour-Redding Elementary School, they are learning that anyone can be a hero.

“We have learned that heroes can be athletes who were born with a handicap, law enforcement or military people, people who overcame adversity to succeed or any ordinary person who does something extraordinary,” Burbrink said.

Burbrink’s class has been reading about heroes for the past two weeks, and the children had the opportunity to write paragraphs their heroes. Burbrink said with this being the main focus these past few weeks, the children also learn about the genre of biographies.

Recently, Principal Aaron Floyd sent the staff contact information for some community members who would be willing to read to students, specifically for Read Across America Day on March 2, That’s also the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

Community members such as Police Chief Greg O’Brien, Mayor Matt Nicholson and Fire Chief Brad Lucas are participating in this event reading to various classes in schools across Jackson County.

With the students currently learning about heroes, Burbrink decided to contact O’Brien prior to the event as a special visitor.

“The children were surprised that morning when I told them about our visitor. They seemed to be respectful and appreciative of seeing someone like him read to them and not just their teacher read to them,” Burbrink said.

O’Brien talked to the kids for a few minutes, telling them the importance of law enforcement and how a police officer can help a community. Then he read “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathman to the children.

The story follows police Officer Buckle, who knows more about safety than anyone in the town of Napville.

Buckle kept many safety tips tacked onto his bulletin board and would often share those tips with the students of Napville School. The students never listened, however, and always snored during Buckle’s safety speech.

Eventually, the Napville police department bought a police dog named Gloria that would become Buckle’s best buddy.

As Buckle gave his safety speech naming off the different safety tips, Gloria would act out the incident, showing the children how to be safe. The children were enthralled by Gloria’s actions as they laughed, clapped and cheered.

After Buckle and Gloria gained some attention, Buckle didn’t want to do anymore safety speeches because the children were only paying attention to Gloria.

Gloria attended a safety speech by herself, but she was lonely as she stood there with no direction. The children were so bored that they ended up falling asleep along with Gloria.

After a huge accident at the school, the students and staff wrote many letters to Buckle and Gloria begging them to come back to give more safety speeches.

The book ends with Buckle learning the most important safety tip, always stick with your buddy.

The kids surrounded O’Brien and listened as he read to the last page of the book.

“All my kids are grown, and this is a great opportunity. I just love kids,” O’Brien said.

He said reading to these kids reminds him of his favorite childhood book, “Big Joe’s Trailer Truck” by Joseph Mathieu.

Not only did the kids enjoy having O’Brien as a visitor, but some of the students introduced themselves and mentioned family members who are heroes to them.

Three children in Burbrink’s class have relatives in different law enforcement and fire departments.

One second-grader, Addison Dishman, has two relatives in law enforcement that she calls heroes, her father, Billy Dishman, an officer with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, and an uncle, Officer Jordan Bowles for Scottsburg.

As Burbrink’s class continues to learn about heroes, they also prepare to welcome other city officials, like Nicholson and Lucas, to read to students for Read Across America Day.