RIDGWAY — A Facebook post referring to a “mystery” officer from the Ridgway Borough Police Department recently resurfaced and made its way back around the social media community.
The post, written by a child’s parent, was shared by the Elk County Office of Emergency Services in 2016. Recently, it was shared once again, and began recirculating.
The post expressed gratitude for St. Marys native and former Ridgway Borough Police Department officer Corey Wendel. He currently works in Bellevue, a borough that borders Pittsburgh.
Wendel says he believes the four-year-old post did not resurface by coincidence, given all of the negativity directed toward law enforcement right now.
“I believe local residents wanted to remind the community that police are humans, and that a majority of police officers a good people,” he said.
Wendel says on the day the post is referring to, he encountered youth playing basketball in the driveway of a residence.
“It seemed like they could use another player, so I asked them if I could join their game,” he said. “It was a very hot day, so after an intense game of basketball, I thought it was a good idea to get everybody some cold treats.”
According to the Facebook post, Wendel went to Sheetz and brought back slushies for the boys in 2016.
“It doesn’t seem like police officers ever get credit for the good they do, so I wanted to share this,” the Facebook post says. “He made my kids’ day. I wish I knew who he was to thank him. What an amazing community we live in.”
He didn’t do any of this to be noticed, Wendel notes.
“I actually was very surprised that my encounter blew up on social media as it did,” he said. “In hindsight, I’m glad I was able to have such an impact on the community and, more importantly, the young kids. If they are in trouble, they can trust the police, and not be afraid of them.”
A lot of the opinions toward police are negative, due to current events, Wendel said, which is very upsetting.
“Are there bad police officers out there? Yes, absolutely,” he said. “But most of us, regardless of what the perception is, are good people and will not hesitate to run and aid somebody who is in need of help.”
Seeing such a positive post of appreciation resurface again was uplifting to Wendel and the local community.
“I believe it’s important for the police to communicate, listen to the concerns of their community and remind people that we’re not like those former police officers,” he said. “I know I speak for most of us when I say that we took an oath, and we intend to honor that oath, and will never purposely do anything that may tarnish the badge.”