WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (WTSP) -- A group of Winter Haven Police Explorers are being honored for the good they did in their community.
About a month ago, five of the teenage explorers were working a Halloween event near the department. A mother came up to an officer and the mayor, frantic, looking for her son.
“All she kept saying is, 'My child, my child, my child's missing,’ Mayor Steven Hunicutt said. “I mean, she was distraught.”
That's when the training kicked in for the Explorers.
“We split into teams of two to try and find him,” Piper Hungerford explained.
They checked by a nearby lake, but couldn't find him.
“Do we know if someone took him? That's what we were worried about,” Murvyn Suttle said.
They ended up at a playground and splash pad about a half mile away from the event. That’s where they found the boy cowering in a stall and crying.
“I got down and said, 'I'm a police officer. I'm here to help. Your mom is looking for you,’ Andrew Giroux said. “I coaxed him out.”
It was a relief for the boy’s mom, and a special moment for Chief Charlie Bird.
“I'm sure the parents are proud, and it certainly makes me proud being the chief of that Explorer program,” Bird said.
Two other explorers helped out that day but couldn't be there for Tuesday’s ceremony. Several current officers, including one who was sworn in Tuesday, have gone through the Police Explorers program.