When Austin, Texas police visited the home of Louis Hicks, they were responding to a call he made reporting that tools were being stolen from his shed. But during the visit, they discovered something so troublesome that they jumped into action.
Mr. Hicks, a World War II veteran, has been heating his home with his gas-powered cookstove, which is a very dangerous practice. He used a portable fan to blow hot air through to his living room. Previously, he had used an old heater, but it burned a hole in his floor.
When Officer Chasity Salazer realized what was going on, she knew she had to do something about it.
“That’s just what we do as police officers. I had realized that he’s using the oven. I know that’s not safe. His gas is on,” Officer Salazar said.
So she contacted her colleagues in the Austin Police Department, and with the help of three local charitable foundations, two of which are set up specifically to help police officers and their families, Salazer and her colleague Officer Bino Cadenas bought Mr. Hicks a new electric heater.
Mr. Hicks was stunned and couldn’t hold back his tears.
“I’ve never had no one to do nothing for me,” Hicks said, while holding back tears. “After my mother passed away and left me to take care of my two sisters … nobody never did nothing to help me.”
He continued, saying that he has pride and doesn’t ask people for things.
“You hate to ask anybody ’cause sometimes they’ll frown on you, and I’m a true veteran. I won’t ask. I won’t ask,” Hicks said.
Salazar explained why she was so moved.
“He’s just offered me a lot of kindness, too, so to know that he’s also served, and now I’m able to serve and give back to people like him,” she said.
Mr. Hicks shared what it means to him that people reach out and care as these officers do.
“It means everything. The things I’ve been trying to do since the ’40s…I’ve been asking for help. And now, it just came in. God is good,” Hicks said.
How sweet is this?! @Austin_Police is delivering a free heater to a 92-year-old World War II veteran! An officer who responded to his house last week noticed he was heating it with his stove and oven. Thanks to these officers, he won’t need to do that anymore. ? @KVUE pic.twitter.com/rCvwclXuVW
— Pattrik Perez (@PattrikPerez) January 29, 2019
The Austin PD has a list of things that Mr. Hicks still needs.
- Frito Lay chips
- Plastic heavy duty containers for storage
- Folgers coffee
- Tiff’s Treats
- Shirts size medium
- Underwear size medium
- Pants size 33×30
Visited Mr. Hicks this afternoon. He’s extremely thankful to everyone who has reached out and has even found lost family members. “From the bottom of my heart ❤️ Thank You”
Big things are coming his way – home improvements, @HonorFlightATX, and community support. Wish list…1/2 pic.twitter.com/iDCGuRIAeG
— Bino Cadenas (@Officer_Bino) January 31, 2019
The police department is also donating storage bins so that they can help Mr. Hicks organize his house.
If you’re interested in helping Mr. Hicks, please email Bino Cadenas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Likely no contribution is too small.