Houston Police Department Sgt. Steve Wick was captured in aheartwarming photo posted by ABC News, where he is seen cutting the homeless man’s toenails in part of an effort to get him cleaned up and better off in the community.
“We cleaned him up and gave him new clothes,” Wick shared about his interaction with the 75-year-old man named Quintus, according to Good Morning America. “We tried to get his feet in shape so he could put shoes on.”
Protecting and serving
Wick, who has served with his department’s Homeless Outreach Team since 2011, first spotted Quintus on the streets several weeks ago when he was with his partner who took the photo, Houston Senior Police Officer Colin Mansfield. It was then that they realized he could use their help.
“His vision deteriorated to a point where he couldn’t function as well anymore,” Wick added.
When Wick and Mansfield initially came across the elderly man, they took him to the Sobering Center. The sergeant said that this was the first time in many years that Quintus had showered.
“Quintus, he was happy to get cleaned up,” recounted Wick. “His whole life he’s been minimally employed, selling the Sunday paper.”
The 23-year veteran of the Houston Police Department seized the opportunity to help the homeless man after seeing him struggling through the streets and recognizing his failing vision.
“He’s got glaucoma, so he’s about 95-percent blind,” Wick continued. “When we found him, he was having difficulty … walking to a thrift shop to pick up new clothes.”
Part of the bigger plan
But instead of just offering Quintus and other struggling homeless people temporary help, Wick and the rest of his Homeless Outreach Team ultimately want to get these forgotten members of society off the streets for good.
“We wanted to find another way to help people that wanted to get off the street,” the devoted law enforcement officer explained.
Wick went on to emphasize to ABC News — which published the photo of him serving the community with toenail clipper in hand — that his team’s ultimate goal for Quintus is to find him housing that he can go home to each and every day.
“Ultimately, that’s what we want for everybody,” the Houston officer stressed.
After Wick was photographed cutting Quintus’ toenails, the Houston Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team took him to an emergency shelter. They are currently trying to schedule him with visits to an eye doctor and get him set up with other social services for additional assistance.
Turning things around
Noting the bad rap law enforcement officers have received for some time — with the media frequently covering confrontations between police and citizens — Wick was pleased to show the side of police officers and their community relations that rarely gets any press.
“Police have gotten a black eye in recent years, or months,” Wick insisted.
He then pointed out the importance of letting the public know how much — and to what extent — many police officers around the nation really care about those who they have vowed to protect and serve.
“It makes people feel like police officers are out there to help, rather than to hurt, and we are.”
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.