NITRO, WV (WOWK) — After corresponding for nearly six months, a small group of Nitro Elementary students met their pen-pals face to face on Wednesday at Nitro’s Ridenour Lake for a pizza party.
But they weren’t ordinary pen-pals, they were police officers.
“I don’t know who’s more excited, whether it’s the officers or the kids,” said Sgt. Ray Blake with the Nitro Police Department.
Blake started the program last November as a way to build community.
He says he had more police officers interested than he could accommodate.
“They love this because it gives them a break from all of the bad stuff they see on a daily basis,” he said.
The kids for their part got to work on their spelling – and – make a new friend.
“My boy that writes me always asks me about my car, he’s so interested in the car,” said Sgt. Chris Hastings.
Hastings says another boy was always writing to his pen-pal about dinosaurs.
Blake says, in the beginning, the students’ letters were hard to read.
“Now the kids are writing so much more neater, their spelling is a lot better and they’re more able to write on an even line so just watching them progress from November to now is amazing,” he said.
Whether they wrote about dinosaurs, police cars, or bikes, both sides had a lot of fun.
“A lot of people think you should be afraid of the police but that’s just not the case,” said Hastings.
As a final treat, the kids were made honorary police officers for the day.
Blake says the Nitro Police Department will be continuing the program with different officers next school year.