Reported By: Jordan Vandenberge
By helping a man in need, three Evansville Police officers put the 'serve' in their vow to serve and protect. Through pure generosity, the officers purchased a new mattress for the man's bed-ridden wife.
Far too often, our lives are expressways. We speed too much, stop too little and miss signs along the way. But on the Lloyd Expressway Friday afternoon, there was a sign Detective Ray Holden couldn't miss.
"I saw the male. He was looking over the ledge, looking down at the ground when I first passed him," Det. Holden said. "I saw 'please help' on the sign he had."
Holden quickly turned around and began talking with the man who was standing on the Tekoppel overpass. Not long after that, Officers Kyle Thiry and Nick Sammet arrived.
"[The man] knew what he wanted to do but didn't know how to go about helping his wife," Sammet said. "Most problems in police work you can't fix them right away. This was something that we could."
"[The man] was desperate enough to walk all the way to Wal-Mart to try and sell some coins," Thiry said. "We knew he wouldn't be able to make very much. I've been there. If it weren't for people helping me while I was homeless, I probably wouldn't be where I'm at."
"[The man] told me that he was out trying to get money for his wife. He said she had been bed-ridden for two years from an accident," Det. Holden said. "He said all I want to do is buy a new bed for my wife."
Det. Holden went back to headquarters and began calling every business and furniture he could. After taking the man home and seeing the dilapidated mattress the man's wife was laying on, Officers Sammet and Thiry stopped by the HARTT Thrift Store on Main St.
Perhaps the thrift store's name best describes what happened next.
"We decided that we'd go down there to get a mattress for [the man]," Sammet said. "Obviously, it wasn't hard for [the thrift store's owner] to figure out why police officers were buying a mattress. He wanted in on it [and gave us a discount.] He deserves some credit as well."
Not thirty minutes later, the new mattress was delivered to the man's house. He was overcome with emotion, Sammet said. The brand new mattress was purchased with pure generosity. It was an easy decision, the officers said, because they too are husbands.
"I know it took just a heap of weight off that guy's shoulders. You could just tell it was wearing him out," Det. Holden said. "That's all he wanted to do. He wanted to do that for his wife because the mattress they had was pulled out of the alley two years prior."
"I think [the man] still being out there going at it every day trying to make it work speaks on his character, his heart and the love he has for his wife," Thiry said. "Kudos to him."
Not just him. Kudos to all of them.