Over the past twenty plus years, here at the University of Hartford, I have witnessed many quiet acts of kindness by university employees toward our students. Recently, I witnessed one that I felt was extraordinary!
One of our students, who relies on a wheelchair to get about, arrived at the Public Safety office wanting to post a friend's vehicle for the night. The Officer working the desk, Officer Thomas Halsey noticed that the student’s wheelchair appeared to be damaged. Officer Halsey walked out into the lobby where the student was and inspected the student’s wheelchair. The chair had several missing bolts and a broken support arm causing the chair to be difficult to use as well as potentially dangerous. Officer Halsey attempted a makeshift repair for the night and then made sure the student got home safely. Prior to leaving the next morning, Officer Halsey ensured that steps would be taken to further assist our student.
That very next morning, Officers Manuel Acosta and Kristen Victorick (the departments’ newest officer) went to the student’s apartment to check on the student. After speaking with the student, Officers Acosta and Victorick offered to take the students wheelchair to the university’s garage in hopes that they could have a new bolt or two put in place to making sure the student would be able to get about without the possibility of injury. The student was very excited at the possibility, explaining that the chair had been damaged for some time, making it hard to get around campus without the help of friends.
When Officers Acosta and Victorick arrived at the university garage, they explained to the universities Lead Mechanic, Robert Sheppard the issue one of our students was having with the wheelchair. Mr. Sheppard, as always, was quite willing to help one of our students but in this instance, his assistance was extraordinary. Mr. Sheppard not only replace the missing bolts but he also removed the broken support, manufactured a new one and welded it into place, painting it to match perfectly. Not only was the chair made functional and safe again but it was now better than ever!
When the officers returned the students wheelchair they were met by the biggest smile and perhaps, the happiest student on campus. The student, who was so grateful, kept saying “God Bless you for this.”
I am extremely proud of this University and the countless staff members who quietly go about their day, taking a moment (or longer) to help our students who are experiencing an issue or crisis, without wanting praise or acknowledgement for their dedication but in this case, I felt compelled to speak up.
I would like to say to Lead Mechanic Robert Sheppard (Bob), Officers Thomas Halsey, Manuel Acosta and Kristine Victorick that their selflessness and devotion does not go unnoticed! That they are an inspiration to the community they serve and stand as the example in their stewardship. Not to mention, every once in while we all need to hear, Great Job!