COVINGTON- The call to the Claiborne Hills Shopping Center was a complaint about a homeless man loitering around the area, but Covington Police Officer Ben Cato said he felt a higher calling once he arrived to the scene.
“Jesus says you do to the least of these, you've done to myself, and that's my mission in life to help those who can't help themselves,” Officer Cato said.
So Cato went into the Big Lots store and asked manager Lara Thomas where the pillows and blankets were so he could buy some for the man.
“What police officer do you know that is going to buy something for a homeless gentleman, right? These days. So it was just amazing,” Big Lots manager Lara Thomas said.
In September, when Officer George Turgeau turned a call about a lost debit card into a call to action to his Facebook friends.
Not only did he help the owner of the card, Carol Mitchell who is also a cancer patient, get a cane to her around easier, he ended up taking her to her doctor's appointment on his day off.
“To serve and protect. He honors that,” Mitchell said.
In another instance, he donated his personal bike to help a single mother get back to work.
“I was put in a position to help someone and I was able to do so,” Turgeau said.
All of the good deeds were posted to the department's Facebook page by Chief Tim Lentz, which have garnered thousands of likes and hundreds of shares individually.
“That is our number one priority is the people here in this community and how we can help them to better themselves and better their community,” Chief Lentz said.
“I'm just proud of these officers, not just the two you've highlighted today, but everyone at the Covington Police Department. They do good deeds every single day. I wish I could recognize every single one of them for what they do, but they embrace my mantra, 'care, compassion and discretion' and that makes a difference. We'd rather give help than handcuffs any day of the week,” Lentz said.
The actions of the officers, who are both military veterans, have inspired others to embrace the giving spirit, starting with Thomas and her co-worker covering the cost of Officer Cato's blanket and pillow initiative.
“I like to see the fact that there's a lot of people out there, who have the opportunity, that they'll jump on board and really help people in need,” Cato said.
It's an influence they're proud of, causing a positive impact in the community and beyond.