In the 40 years between 1970 and 2010, the city of Bakersfield, California, exploded, going from around 70,000 people to over 350,000. This week we learned one reason why. Located 100 miles north of Los Angeles, the San Joaquin Valley is an agricultural mecca and, much like the good dirt, there are good people. One is a cop by the name of Juan Orozco whose job has a bit more stress than most officers – he works on the bomb squad.
A couple of years ago he was reading a magazine article when the wires inside his brain touched and his light bulb went on. He hurried to the police department bomb lab and, in short order, developed a plastic Easter egg that would beep. When he took it to the Command Staff nobody else would touch it. So he triggered a remote control device and then altered the volume, and the seconds between beeps.
“Let’s have an Easter Egg Hunt for some blind kids,” he suggested and it’s been ‘go’ from that very second.” Ironically Officer Orozco’s beeping Easter egg has since caused more “eye problems” for the Bakersfield Police Department than you can imagine. Every police officer weeps with joy and emotion at the reactions of children finding their own Easter eggs.
Happiness and shouts of delight reigned again earlier this week as the Police Department held its Second Annual Easter Egg Hunt for The Blind. Each child, ranging from 3 years old to 13, is accompanied by a police officer but most are helped by two —there are more police volunteers than kids.
Top cop Lyle Martin told reporters, “It’s just humbling for all of us, especially when you think of the things we so easily take for granted,” said the chief. “Last year, I was in tears … I had to get out of here.”
Senior officer Thomas Hernandez looked gigantic as he held the hand of three-year-old Jordan Mondragon and as she listened intently for an egg that beeped, the police officer made very sure her basket was over-flowing. You see, after the hunt the kids swap their “beepers” for ice cream, popcorn, snow cones and candy. Each is also given a huge Easter basket to take home.
The Kern County School District provides for the visually-impaired and those with limited vision wear blindfolds to keep the playing field level. "This is the type of experience these kids will not be able to have elsewhere," said school principal Gaylene Roberts. She explained many impaired children don’t get to experience things other children do and when they can take part in just about anything their hearts are full.
Thanks to the bomb squad many of the children find an egg for the very first time. "You can't really put a value on it," said the teacher. "It touches the hearts of all of us much more than we ever thought it would.”
Police officer Jessica Amos, helping 6-year old Sophia Dill with fellow officer Terrance Lewis, told the Bakersfield Californian, “It just makes you feel so good to share in the joy … all of us get teary-eyed
Sophia was born with an inherited retinal degenerative disease and was almost completely blind at birth. It was Sophia’s second year to listen to the beep and her mother said the child adores the police officers as much as the egg hunt.
“As the parent of a blind kid, I can tell you they have no limits," said Danny Reyes, a parent, but his wife went it one better. “Being here," said Claudia, "you feel the community is embracing our kids."
Chief Martin immediately picked up on the bomb squad’s idea. “It’s good for the children, it's good for the community and it's good for the cops who participate,” said Chief Martin, “This connects our officers to the community in a way that is just as important as the core mission of law enforcement.”
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LITTLE JOHNNY WATCHES TOO MUCH TV
The priest was presenting a children's sermon on Easter Sunday before the whole congregation. He asked the children if they knew what the Resurrection was.
Asking questions during children's sermons is crucial, but at the same time, asking children questions in front of a congregation can also be very dangerous. In response to the question, “Little Johnny” raised his hand.
The priest called on him and the boy said, "I know that if you have a resurrection that lasts more than four hours you are supposed to call the doctor."
It took ten minutes for the congregation to settle down enough for the service to continue.