Police officers in full dress uniform carrying rifles, flags and bags of goodies and in an intense state of anticipation made the atmosphere at the 41st precinct in the Bronx. All this excitement was in preparation for a visit by a 10-year-old girl from Texas.
Savannah Solis, of Tyler, Texas made hundreds of thank-you cards for NYPD officials after two law-enforcement officers were killed in Brooklyn last year. Her gesture touched the hearts of the generally stoic and business-like cops.
As she entered the precinct Tuesday, a NYPD helicopter flew above in salute and the entrance was lined with police officers, K-9 dogs, community affair officials from various precincts and children from a local school. Solis who has the ambition of becoming a police officer comes across as a small and timid girl overwhelmed with the attention that she is receiving. But when took the stand, her confidence brought tears to the eyes of many of the listeners.
“I am honored to speak for my generation. I want to be a voice for all kids and let the world know that we love and respect our police officers, “she said, standing among dozens of cops who had gathered to meet her.
Accompanied by her parents Scott and Debbie Solis, Savannah was flown in from Texas by JetBlue after NYPD officers got together to start a fund in her name. Victor Cabral, an officer at the precinct arranged for the meeting after he spoke to Solis’s parents. “Her most important desire was to say thank you to the NYPD,” said Cabral. “You are a natural leader.”
Savannah was approached by a national talk show to appear and talk about her story but she declined because she would not be meeting any officers in the process, said Cabral.
“To my heroes, I want to say don’t stop. Please don’t give up. Many do not care or appreciate the sacrifices you make every day but I do,” Solis said.
Solis sent 200 cards to the 41st precinct, after two officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were shot in their patrol car on December 20, 2014. Savnnah made similar cards for officers in Texas and met them before coming to New York.
Solis got her own share of gifts in return: sweatshirts, NYPD caps, T shirts, chocolates and stationary. Maybe the best of the bunch though: a free trip, paid for by Jet Blue, to meet officers at the Scotland Yard in London during her spring break.