Parma preschooler’s passion for police leads to Citizen of the Month Award

January 28, 2019

Parma preschooler’s passion for police leads to Citizen of the Month Award

PARMA, Ohio -- Like many 4-year-old boys, Lucas Woronischtsche is infatuated with police officers. However, this special Parma preschooler is going above and beyond with his ongoing effort to support the Parma Police Department’s K9 unit.

So much so, in fact, that last week Mayor Tim DeGeeter selected Lucas to receive the January 2019 Citizen of the Month Award.

“Lucas is our youngest Citizen of the Month,” DeGeeter said. “He has the biggest heart. Our K9 officers enjoy his visits and the treats he brings.”

Lucas’ mother, Becky, said her son’s passion for law enforcement became evident  starting two years ago, with his annual selection of police officer costumes for Halloween.

“This year, we took him to the Parma Treat & Greet, where he met police officer Jackson and police K9 Dexter,” Becky said, “While he was afraid at first, when we were walking away, he said, ‘Mommy, that’s going to be me.’

“When we got home that day, he said that he wanted the police dogs to have Christmas presents, too. So he started doing extra chores in the house to raise money, but it wasn’t happening fast enough. Then he said he wanted to do a lemonade stand. I said, ‘For the love of Jesus, child, it’s winter.’”

At that point, Becky considered a hot chocolate stand before settling on a Facebook post explaining Lucas’ plan. Less than 24 hours later, they had raised nearly $300 for Christmas presents, including balls, biscuits, Christmas cards and donated Mission BBQ gift cards.

Lucas also brings candy and snacks to the police station every Friday for the whole department to enjoy.  

“The attention he’s receiving is insane,” said Becky, who noted at that very moment, her son was writing Valentine’s Day cards for the police officers. “Everywhere we go for the past few days, he’s telling everybody in the stores that he was Citizen of the Month.

“It’s been shocking. He’s just a loving, caring kid to begin with. He puts everyone before himself. He even puts his elderly cat who always needs attention before himself.”

Over the last month or so, Lucas took a special interest in police officer Bryan Bernow and brand-new police K9 Beny.

“Lucas wanted Beny to have a welcome present,” Becky said. “So he gave them candy and pictures. Officer Bernow went out of his way so Lucas could meet Beny privately. From then on, Officer Bernow is Lucas’ idol.”

Bernow described Lucas as being one of the most polite and respectful preschoolers he has ever encountered.

“His parents are doing a great job of raising him,” said Bernow, who hopes other parents will follow suit and let their children approach police officers without saying things like the police will arrest them if they’re bad. 

“That’s very influential to a young child,” Bernow said. “They’ll have a bad opinion or feel threatened by police from the start of their lives.”

As for Lucas’ future, odds are that one day he’ll be patrolling the streets of Parma. Until then, Becky is confident her son will keep supporting the police officers. 

“Lucas is just doing what Lucas does,” Becky said. 

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