MISSION, Kan. -- It was a frightening fall that created a new friendship between a police officer and one of the citizens he swore to protect, and their friendship inspired an even bigger partnership that’s creating a new understanding in Mission, Kan.
Corey Graham doesn’t let himself get bored very often.
“I go to Salsa Grill, I go to Sylvester Powell Community center, I hang out with friends, I do exercise classes, we have a problem solvers group that meets every Thursday, and I go bowling on Friday,” Graham said.
He also works five days a week at Security Bank. He’s been doing that for almost ten years.
It was on one of his many adventures that Corey had quite a scare, walking along Johnson Drive.
“I accidentally tripped and fell and split my forehead open which I was not very happy about,” he said.
Officer Matthew Breshears from the Mission Police Department met Corey previously at his apartment complex while on his regular rounds, and he knew Corey had some balance issues, so he was watching Corey as he walked that day.
“I kept an eye on him, and I saw him fall, and I kind of took care of him,” Officer Breshears said. “I could tell in his face that he was scared. He reached his hands up to me, and he just asked me- and he couldn’t even see me, there was so much blood in his face, so he reached his hands up to me and said can you just hold my hands until the ambulance comes."
“He comforted me while I waited for the ambulance to come, and he was just right there with me, the whole time,” Graham said.
The two became friends and sparked a new partnership between the Mission Police Department and the Mission Project, an organization Graham is part of.
“The Mission Project is an organization for adults with developmental disabilities to work, and to have their own apartments, and to have activities and to have a great time,” Graham said.
Officer Breshears has since become an ambassador of sorts for the Mission Police Department and the Mission Project- connecting the two groups and letting the adults at the mission project know- they have an ally in the police department.
“Instead of them just keeping to themselves, they’ll come up to you and joke with you or they’ll come up and give you high fives and they’ll want to actually interact with you, and that’s what’s really cool,” Officer Breshears said.
Because of their partnership, in the last few months, the Mission Project and Police Department have started to mark safe places with a sign on the store or restaurant’s window.
“They just have to agree to you know to welcome you know the Mission Project participants into their business,” Officer Breshears said.
It makes Graham and his friends feel more comfortable in their community.
“I feel good knowing that there are safe places where I can go to,” Graham said.
It’s a chain reaction that all started with a couple of strangers who reached out a hand and found a friend.
To find out more about the Mission Project or how to become a Safe Place click to tap here.