(PAOLI) – Today was a special day for 7-year-old Colton Harkness, of Paoli, at Throop Elementary School. He was and sworn in as an officer by Orange County Sheriff Josh Babcock.
Colton is a student of Mrs. Ellicia Holland 1st grade class.
Colton has had to overcome many challenges throughout his childhood. He was born at 23 weeks and suffers from Cerebral Palsy. Colton has undergone numerous back surgeries and is facing more surgeries in the near future, according to his grandparents Gary and Rhonda White of Paoli who also attended the event.
The family applied to Kids Wish Network to fill Colton’s dream of becoming a police officer. Local law enforcement officers from Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Paoli Police Department, Indiana Conservation, and Indiana State Police attended the swearing-in ceremony.
The first graders at Throop all gathered in the library to witness some of the announcements and special presentations to Colton.
Colton’s dream is to become a police officer and his wish came true today.
Orange County Sheriff Josh Babcock, presented Colton with a ball cap, badge, and then swore him in as his newest officer.
“You have to be a role model to all these, and other kids, can you do that?” asked Sheriff Babcock. Colton looked at Sheriff Babcock and said he would.
But, Colton’s day didn’t end with getting his badge. Colton will be traveling by plane to California, to Disneyland. He will also get to meet Blake Shelton his favorite singer, and see a filming of the television show, The Voice. His trip is scheduled for December 8th – December 11th.
“He is a very strong kid, he has faced a lot of challenges but is a very determined young man,” stated Colton’s grandfather, Gary White.
“He does not know a stranger. He tells stories all the time. He is facing a lot of surgeries, but this kid has a lot of heart,” added his grandmother, Rhonda White.
Indiana Conservation Officer Jeff Milner brought his K-9 partner Fury to meet Colton and his classmates.
“This has been a great day for everyone, wish we could do these kinds of things every week,” said Sheriff Josh Babcock.
Following the presentation in the library festivities continued in the school cafeteria where Colton was treated to enough cupcakes to share with his fellow officers.
His parents Matt and Kelsi Harkness were excited for Colton and happy to share this happy day with family and Colton’s friends. With tears in her eyes, his great-grandmother Mary Ann White shared, “This boy deserved this happiness, I am a proud grandmother.”