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Anabel Hawthorne is learning that a small expression of gratitude can be very meaningful to those who serve the community.

Anabel, age 8, is a student at Woodland Elementary School in Greer. Along with her older sister, Gracie, and her mother, Anabel helps provide encouragement to deputies through the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office’s Adopt-a-Cop program.

The family started with the program after Anabel’s mother, Jennifer Hawthorne, learned about it several years ago through a friend’s Facebook post. They started with one adopted cop and now serve four. The family provides small gifts or handmade items to thank the law enforcement officers for serving.

“Last year, we did one almost every week,” Jennifer Hawthorne said. “We come up with a theme that is fun or something that is meaningful to them. They come in touch with so many bad things sometimes. Anything we can do to make it better, that’s what we want to do.”

The family did one week with a Lilo and Stitch theme and another with an “open when” stash of envelopes to open when having a bad day or when happy and more.

“We made a big poster that said, ‘Ohana means no one gets left behind,’” Anabel said. “They hung it up in their room where they wait to see where their friend is to help them on a case.”

Anabel said the project has become very important to her.

“It makes me happy,” she said. “When I give a gift to one of our Adopt-a-Cops, it makes me feel happy. It means that I can get to know them very well. They support our county. Whenever something happens, they make it right.”

Anabel has found a close friend through the project – the daughter of one of the officers her family adopted. Both Anabel and her sister have even been treated to ice cream by one of their adopted friends.

Jennifer Hawthorne said it touches her heart to see Anabel make the connection with others through service.

“It’s a great program and I think we’ve made some friends for life,” she said. 

To learn more about the Adopt-a-Cop program, visit http://www.gcso.org/adopt-a-cop.php.

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