Police attend Kerr Elementary student’s birthday party
There were flashing lights at Cruz Elliot’s birthday party, but not the kind you’d expect at a 7-year-old’s celebration.
To mark his big day, the Kerr Elementary youngster requested to spend the day with his “best friends” — police officers from across the Lower Valley.
“It was my best day!” Cruz said. “They came in their cars and police SUVs with flashing lights. I love them!”
Sarah Elliot, Cruz’s mom, said her son has autism and has long admired local police, coveting their stark uniforms and pretending to solve crimes at their O’Hara home.
Cruz dreams one day of becoming a SWAT officer.
When her son declared he wanted a patrol-themed party, Sarah sent invitations to officers from each of the communities in the Fox Chapel Area School District.
To her delight, many of them RSVP’d.
Officers from Aspinwall, Fox Chapel, Indiana Township and O’Hara all rolled up to Squaw Valley Park on Aug. 11, with lights swirling on their cruisers.
“The officers all talked with Cruz, asked him questions and played with him and the other children,” Sarah said. “They stayed and ate with our family and other guests. There were so many officers that it was really beautiful.
“My son had the best day of his life.”
Sarah believes the party will have a lasting impression not only on her son, but his friends who were there as well.
“I think it really shows the dedication and compassion that these women and men have for not only the communities they serve, but the children that see them as heroes,” she said.“In the climate we find ourselves living in today, I feel it’s important for children and adults to see that police are positive influences in our communities.”
For Cruz, it didn’t take much convincing.
He already felt particularly close to one officer, Scott Bailey, who patrols Kerr Elementary in the Fox Chapel Area School District.
“Officer Bailey is my best friend,” Cruz said. “But we’re all best friends now.”
Tawnya Panizzi is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tawnya at 412-782-2121 x1512, [email protected] or via Twitter .