Even a police officer can have a bad day.
The next time that Ptl. Robin Short, who is the D.A.R.E. officer for Bowling Green, is feeling down, all she has to do is open a box of letters and photos — a gift from the community.
Carmen Christensen and her youth group with Modern Woodmen is spearheading the “pick-me-up” project that will be presented to Short at Friday’s Bowling Green High School football game.
Short will be given a certificate from Modern Woodmen, a donation to her favorite charity and the box of good thoughts, said Christensen.
“We are asking everyone who has contact with her to write a little note or submit a picture,” said Christensen, who has been a financial representative with Modern Woodmen, 320 W. Gypsy Lane Road, for two years. The company is a fraternal organization known for its philanthropic efforts and for giving back to the community.
“When she needs a pick-me-up — like she does for so many people — she can reach in and get one.”
Short said she was surprised to learn she was selected as a Hometown Hero by the Modern Woodmen’s Youth Service Club.
“I kind of feel like it’s undeserved but it’s greatly appreciated,” Short said. “I go in, I do my job, I do it to the best of my ability.”
As the Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer, Short teaches classes for fifth-graders. She said she interacts with almost all of the students in Bowling Green City Schools, including coming up with stranger danger lessons for preschoolers and prescription drug education for fourth-graders.
Short can also be seen volunteering after hours, keeping the scoreboard for volleyball and basketball games, and announcing football games.
With short notice, Short can put together a program on internet safety, which she did last year for St. Aloysius children, or a self defense class for tweens, a summer program.
She also always has an ear open.
Last week, which was the first back to school for Bowling Green students, she ate lunch with the sixth-graders every day. Short was there to listen when a girl confided that a friend was taking pills that hadn’t been prescribed to her, and that there was some smoking going on at a bus stop.
Conneaut Elementary principal James Lang said students — most of whom have known Short since they first started school — are thrilled about making cards for her.
“I think she builds a relationship from a very early age. The police are your friends and good people and they treat you accordingly,” he said.
Short is “omnipresent,” which is important to children, Lang added.
“She’s present everywhere, not only in school but in the community. You see her at athletics, the art fest downtown in the fall,” he said. “And she always seems to be in a great mood.”
There are a dozen kids in the Modern Woodmen Youth Service Club whose service projects include treating Bowling Green firefighters to lunch recently.
Christensen said she got the idea for the box of notes and photos from her grandparents, who used to put a box out in church when a fellow parishioner was in the hospital or going through a difficult time.
“I remember as a kid, people calling and saying how much that cheered them up.”
With the police upheaval around the country, Christensen said this is a good time to lift up a police officer.
“They had really great things to say about her, not only as a police officer but as a person,” Christensen said of the youth group, which has 10 members. “There’s a lot of turmoil and we need to show some positives.”
(Anyone in the community who would like to contribute a note or photo for the Hometown Hero box, can contact Christensen at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 419-352-5990.)