FINDLAY, OH (Toledo News Now) - The Findlay Police Department gave a sick little boy a day he will never forget, as they made him an honorary police officer.
Paul Young, a 4-year-old autistic boy from Findlay, was diagnosed with cancer last year. Over the year, he underwent many chemotherapy treatments, leading to some rough, difficult days for him and his family.
On Thursday, the city of Findlay, along with the Findlay Police Department, came together to give Paul a good day.
Like most 4-year-olds, Paul is energetic, easily distracted and very friendly. He never acts like he is afflicted with a terrible disease.
"When you have a child with cancer, it's hard to think positive. You worry so much about what could happen," said Mary Finkes, Paul's mother.
Last October, Paul was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He has already gone through a year of chemotherapy. His treatment will end in December 2014.
"He's a brave little boy. He's been through a lot. But this is a day that he can forget that he is sick, and be a fun and playful little boy," said Finkes.
Paul received special treatment from the Findlay Police Department. Ever since he was very little, he has been enamored with law enforcement.
The police department heard Paul's story and wanted to help. So they worked with the city to have Paul sworn in as an honorary Findlay police officer, complete with his own toy duty belt, badge, uniform and police car.
Officers Chad McMonigal and Brian Dill spearheaded an effort to get a Dodge Charger police cruiser in Power Wheels for Paul. The car was sent to Bart Rader at Banshee Graphics in Findlay and received the same detail and treatment the city's police cruisers have. Downsized for a 4-year-old, the car was decked out with working lights, a siren, decals and even had his name on the door.
After being sworn in by Findlay Mayor Lydia Mihalik, Paul cruised down Cory Street. Then pizza and Dietsch Brothers' ice cream (based in Findlay) was enjoyed by all.
"Any time anybody contacts us with a story like this, there's no one that wouldn't want to help. So, of course, when we heard about it, we were completely on board," said McMonigal.
The whole event took a lot of planning, but those involved said it was well worth it in the end.
"To see the look on his face, I tell you, we would do this everyday if we could," said McMonigal.
Paul's mom will also never forget that look.
"To see him have so much fun - and being that he's so sick - it just means a lot to me, because he doesn't have a lot of good days," said Finkes.
It was a good day that will leave longlasting positive memories for a special little boy.
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