LAKEWOOD, Wash. – “They have supported us through so much. Now it’s our turn to return the support,” said Spc. Cody Hanks, an Everett, Wash., native, now a combat engineer with 570th Sapper Company, 14th Engineer Battalion.
Hanks and approximately 20 other soldiers with 555th Engineer Brigade volunteered during the 3rd Annual Lakewood Fallen Officers Food Drive at the city’s police department Nov. 29.
The food drive kicked off with a performance by the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums.
“Today is a significant day because it’s the third anniversary of four fallen Lakewood police officers,” said Officer Ryan Gallagher, founder of the Seattle Police Pipes and Drums.
The drive is in honor of four Lakewood officers who were killed at a coffee shop in Parkland in 2009.
“This is a continuation of the healing process for the community,” said Helen McGovern, executive director of Emergency Food Network.
Soldiers supported the drive with enthusiasm. They waved at cars driving by and held signs to direct traffic to the donation site.
“The energy of the soldiers is wonderful,” McGovern said.
Gina Miller, a dispatcher with Washington State Patrol, donated cases of food to support the event. Her fiance, a Washington State Patrol officer, was killed in the line of duty in February.
“This is a way to give back to the community and it helps me get through the holidays,” said Miller.
“It’s nice to see the community supporting the police officers,” said Staff Sgt. Ricky Ellis, a Flint, Mich., native, now a combat engineer with the sapper company.
“We have a mutual love between Lakewood and the military,” McGovern said.