Every morning Officer Victor Cabral, of the New York Police Department, arrives at his precinct and opens his locker, he is greeted by the same handmade card.
Written and created by Savannah Solis, of Tyler, when she was 10, the card reminds Cabral the work he and his fellow officers do on a daily basis is appreciated.
After hearing the news that on Dec. 20, 2014, NYPD Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos were both shot and killed in their patrol car, Miss Solis, now 12, created about 200 handmade cards for New York officers and 300 for Texas officers.
Since creating those large batches of cards, she has traveled to 19 states and London to meet with law enforcement officers and thank them for their service.
Through a mutual friend, Cabral was connected with the Solis family and, along with help from NYPD, was instrumental in helping Miss Solis visit the department in February 2015.
Debbie Solis, Miss Solis’ mother, said her daughter loves all officers but has made a special connection with Cabral. She added that when the family first visited New York, the department was very gracious throughout their stay.
This week, the Solis family hopes to extend that same hospitality to Cabral and his family during their first visit to Texas.
On Sunday, the Freedom Fellowship church and Solis family held a come-and-go barbeque lunch for Cabral and local law enforcement officers at the Rose Garden Center - giving Miss Solis a chance to introduce one of her heroes from NYPD to her local heroes.
“Officers save our lives. They do a lot of things for us. …” Miss Solis said. “I think it should be respected because not a lot of people do that.”
The Solis family will host the Cabrals throughout this week and have several surprises planned.
“We have a lot of places in Tyler that have donated a lot of stuff to do,” Mrs. Solis said. “(Rio San Antonio Cruises) has donated passes for their family, so we are taking them on Tuesday to the River Walk.
“You can’t come to Texas without going to the River Walk,” she added.
Saturday, the families also visited the Dallas Police Memorial to pay tribute to the five officers who were killed during a July shooting last year.
Miss Solis said she hopes both Cabral, and all law enforcement officers in attendance at Sunday’s event, left knowing that their work is valued.
“I hope they know that there are a lot of people who thank them and appreciate them,” she said.