COLUMBIA, MS (WDAM) - In the wake of a shooting of two Hattiesburg officers, it is also National Police Week. This week is a time dedicated to honoring the courage of current officers as well as saluting the sacrifice of fallen heroes.
Hunter Owens, 9, of Columbia, wanted to say thank you to his local heroes by passing out "survival kits" to law enforcement officers in the area.
"What I did was for the officers, for what happened in Hattiesburg," said Owens. "I heard that two officers had died and sacrificed their life, so that made me want to do something for our community officers and thank them for protecting me; thank them for everything they've done for me."
The kits include different candies and expressions, like 'Life Savers: To remind you of the many times you've been one' and 'Mounds: for the mounds of courage you need.'
"It makes me feel happy; they get to save people every day, and I just can't thank anybody else," Owens said. "I just love these officers that we have."
Owens said he hopes to be an officer when he grows up.
"If my son is anything like the officers that passed away a few days prior, I will be so proud because, that's what you want as a mother," said Shasta Buckley, Hunter's mother. "You give them the tools, and what they do with those tools is what matters. How they walk out, and what they build, with those tools is what matters the most."
Local first responders helped Hunter during a previous tragedy, driving his desire to give back.
"He's always had a servant's heart. He's always felt the need to give to others," said Shasta Buckley. "This community really rallied around him when he lost his aunt in the December tornado, so this was his way of giving back to them."
The Marion County Sheriff's Department thanked him with hugs, handshakes, and even a hat, making him a Junior Deputy.
"For a kid to take time to do this, it's very special, it really is," said Marion County Sheriff Berkley Hall. "You have to hold back the emotions."
National Police week highlights the sacrifices every officer makes in the line of duty, including the sacrifices of Officers Tate and Deen of Hattiesburg.
"It's tough for anybody, especially when you know some kid like him is going to grow up without a daddy," Hall said. "We all plan to try to make visitation on both the officers and show as much representation and support as we can for our brothers."